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Numbers 27-32 





Numbers 27-32 




For sale by the Saperintendent of Documente, Washington, D. C. - - - - -■ -- Price 75 cents 


Smithsonian Institution, 
Bureau of American Ethnology, 
Washington, D. <7., Decemher 15, 19^1. 
Sir: I have the honor to submit the accompanying manuscripts, 
entitled "Music of the Indians of British Cohnnbia," by Frances Dens- 
more; "Choctaw Music," by Frances Densmore; "Some Ethnological 
Data Concerning One Hundred Yucatan Plants," by Morris Steg- 
gerda ; "A Description of Thirty Towns in Yucatan, Mexico," by Morris 
Steggerda ; "Some Western Shoshoni Myths," by Julian H. Steward ; 
and "New Material from Acoma," by Leslie A. White; and to recom- 
mend that they be published as a bulletin of the Bureau of American 

Very respectfully yours, 

M. W. Stirling, Chief. 
Dr. C. G. Abbot, 

Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. 

M yj 

<J ..... ■■, . <*■ 



A separate edition is published of each paper in the series entitled "Anthro- 
pological Papers." Copies of Papers 1-32 are available at the Bureau of American 
Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, and can be had free upon request. 

List of Anthkopological Papers Published Pee^^ously 

No. 1. A Preliminary Report on Archeological Explorations at Macon, Ga., 

by A. R. Kelly. Bull. 119, pp. v-ix, 1-68, pis. 1-12, figs. 1-7. 1938. 
No. 2. The Northern Arapaho Flat Pipe and the Ceremony of Covering the 

Pipe, by John G. Carter. Bull. 119, pp. 69-102, figs. 8-10. 1938. 
No. 3. The Caribs of Dominica, by Douglas Taylor. Bull. 119, pp. 103-159, 

pis. 13-18, figs. 11-37. 1938. 
No. 4. What Happened to Green Bear Who Was Blessed with a Sacred Pack, 

by Truman Michelson. Bull. 119, pp. 161-176. 1938. 
No. 5. Lemhi Shoshoni Physical Therapy, by Julian H. Steward. Bull. 119, 

pp. 177-181. 1938. 
No. 6. Panatiibiji', an Owens Valley Paiute, by Julian H. Steward. Bull. 119, 

pp. 183-195. 1938. 
No. 7. Archeological Investigations in the Corozal District of British Honduras, 

by Thomas and Mary Gann. Bull. 123, pp. v-vii, 1-57, 61-63, pis. 1-10, 

figs. 1-11. 1939. 
Report on Two Skulls from British Honduras, by A. J. E. Cave. Bull. 

123, pp. 59-60. Bull. 123. 1939. 
No. 8. Linguistic Classification of Cree and Montagnais-Naskapi Dialects, by 

Truman Michelson. Bull. 123, pp. 67-95, fig. 12. 1939. 
No. 9. Sedelmayr's Relacion of 1746. Translated and edited by Ronald L. 

Ives. Bull. 123, pp. 97-117. 1939. 
No. 10. Notes on tlie Creek Indians, by John R. Swanton. Bull. 123, pp. 119- 

159, figs. 13, 14. 1939. 
No. 11. The Yaruros of the Capanaparo River, "Venezuela, by Vincent Petrullo. 

Bull. 123, pp. 161-290, pis. 11-25, figs. 15-27. 1939. 
No. 12. Archeology of Arauquin, by Vincent Petrullo. Bull. 123, pp. 291-295, 

pis. 26-32. 1939. 
No. 13. The Mining of Gems and Ornamental Stones by American Indians, by 

Sydney H. Ball. Bull. 128, pp. ix-xii, 1-78, pis. 1-5. 1941. 
No. 14. Iroquois Suicide: A Study in the Stability of a Culture Pattern, by 

William N. Fenton. Bull. 128, pp. 7&-13S, pis. &-8. 1941. 
No. 15. Tonawanda Longhouse Ceremonies: Ninety Years after Lewis Henry 

Morgan, by William N. Fenton. Bull. 128, pp. 139-166, pis. 9-18. 1941. 
No. 16. The Quichua-Speaking Indians of the Province of Imbabura (Ecuador) 

and Their Anthi-opometric Relations with the Living Populations of 

the Andean Area, by John Gillin. Bull. 128, pp. 167-228, pis. 19-29, 

figs. 1-2. 1941. 



No. 17. Art Processes In Birchbark of the River Desert Algonquin, a Circum- 

boreal Trait, by Frank G. Speck. Bull. 128, pp. 229-274, pis. 30-42, 

figs. S-25. 1941. 
No. 18. Archeological Reconnaissance of Southern Utah, by Julian H. Steward. 

Bull. 128, pp. 275-356, pis. 43-52, figs. 26-77. 1941. 
No. 19. A Search for Songs Among the Chitimacha Indians in Louisiana, by 

Frances Densmore. Bull. 133, pp. 1-15, pis. 1-A. 1942. 
No. 20. Archeological Survey on the Northern Northv/est Coast, by Philip 

Drucker; with Appendix, Early Vertebrate Fauna of the British 

Columbia Coast, by Edna M. Fisher. Bull. 133, pp. 17-132, pis. 5-9, figs. 

1-33. 1943. 
No. 21. Some Notes on a Few Sites in Beaufort County, South Carolina, by 

Regiua Flannery. Bull. 133, pp. 143-153, figs. 34-35. 1943. 
No. 22. An Analysis and Interpretation of the Ceramic Remains from Two Sites 

near Beaufort, South Carolina, by James B. Griffin. Bull. 133, pp. 

155-168, pis. 10-12. 1943. 
No. 23. The Eastern Cherokees, by William Harlen Gilbert, Jr. Bull. 133, pp. 

169-413, pis. 13-17, figs. 36-55. 1943. 
No. 24. Aconite Poison Whaling in Asia and America : An Aleutian Transfer to 

the New World, by Robert F. Heizer. Bull. 133, pp. 415-468, pis. 18-23A, 

figs. 56-60. 1943. 
No. 25. The Carrier Indians of the Bulkley River: Their Social and Religious 

Life, by Diamond Jenness. Bull. 133, pp. 469-586, pis. 24-34, figs. 61-62. 

No. 26. The Quipu and Peruvian Civilization, by John R. Swanton. Bull. 133, 

pp. 587-596. 1943. 



No. 27. Music of the Indians of British Columbia, by Frances Densnaore_ 1 

No. 28. Choctaw Music, by Frances Densmore 101 

No. 29. Some Ethnological Data Concerning One Hundred Yucatan 

Plants, by Morris Steggerda 189 

No. 30. A Description of Thirty Towns in Yucatan, Mexico, by Morris 

Steggerda 227 

No. 31. Some Western Shoshoni Myths, by Julian H. Steward 249 

No. 32. New Material from Acoma, by Leslie A. White 301 

Index 361 





1. 1, Street in hop-pickers' camp. 2, Typical dwellings in hop-pickers' 

camp 100 

2. 1, Communal dwelling in hop-pickers' camp. 2, "Red Cross shack" 

in which songs were recorded 100 

3. 1, Group of Indians engaged in barter of clothing. 2, Corner of hop- 

field 100 

4. 1, Wires lowered for removal of hops. 2, Indians gathering hops 100 

5. 1, Women gathering hops. 2, Wires raised to original position after 

removal of hops 100 

6. 1, Indian woman and child. 2, Tasalt 100 

7. 1, Dwelhng (at right) occupied by Tasalt. 2, Bones used in slahal 

game 100 

8. 1, Slahal game in progress, showing drum. 2, Slahal game in progress, 

leader indicating "guess" 100 

9. 1, Henry Haldane. 2, Mrs. Sophie Wilson 100 


10. 1, Sidney Wesley. 2, Mary Hickman 188 

11. 1, Lysander Tubby. 2, Olman Comby 188 

12. 1, Maggie BiUie in native dress (1933). 2, Maggie Billie's dress and 

apron 188 

13. 1, Maggie Billie's bead coUar. 2, Maggie Billie's fancy comb 188 

14. Choctaw children in native dress (1933) 188 

15. 1, Man's head band of pierced silver. 2, Man's bead collar 188 

16. 1, Sidnej' Wesley approaching through the woods. 2, Mary Hickman's 

house, where songs were recorded 188 

17. 1, Robert Henry's house, where songs were recorded. 2, Group at 

Robert Henry's house when songs were recorded 188 

18. 1, Man's bead necklace. 2, Racket used in ball game 3, Scrimmage 

in ball game 188 

19. Bob Henry holding rackets in position for play 188 

20. 1, Whistle. 2, Robert Henry blowing whistle 188 

21. 1, Ball used in ball game. 2, Four handkerchiefs folded for use in 

bullet game 188 


22. 1, Plants of Yucatan. 1, Acrocomia mexicana Karw. 2, Alvaradoa 

amorphoides Liebm. 3, Bromelia Karatas L. 4, Fruit of Bromelia 
Karaias L 226 

23. Plants of Yucatan, 1, Cedrela mexicana M. Roem. 2, Cereus undatus 

Haw. 3, Dorstenia Contrajerva L. 4, Euphorbia hirta L 226 

24. Plants of Yucatan. 1, Ficus Cotinifolia HBK. 2, Leucaena glauca (L.) 

Benth. 3, Plu7neria alba h. 4, Spondias purpurea li 226 





25. Map of the State of Yucatan 248 

26. Typical scenes in Yucatan 248 

27. Spanish colonial churches 248 

28. Scenes of native life in Yucatan 248 


29. Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico; a street view 360 

30. Katzimo, or the Enchanted Mesa, as seen from Acoma, New Mexico. 360 

31. Another view of the Rocli of Katzimo, or the Enchanted Mesa, New 

Mexico 360 

32. The lower end of the horse trail, Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico 360 



1. Map of British Columbia 14 

2. Sketch showing locations of bones in slahal game 66 


3. Design on whistle 129 

4. Robert Henry's personal design on whistle 130 


5. He'-mtc katsina 311 


Bureau of American Ethnology 

Bulletin 136 

Anthropological Papers, No. 27 
Music of the Indians of British Columbia 



Many tribes and locations are represented in the present work, 
differing from the writer's former books,^ which have generally con- 
sidered the music of only one tribe. This material from widely sep- 
arated regions was available at Chilliwack, British Columbia, during 
the season of hop-picking, the Indians being employed in the fields. 
The work was made possible by the courtesy of Canadian officials. 
Grateful acknowledgment is made to Dr. Duncan Campbell Scott, 
Deputy Superintendent General, Department of Indian Affairs at Ot- 
tawa, who provided a letter of credential, and to Mr. C. C. Perry, In- 
dian agent at Vancouver, and Indian Commissioner A. O. N. Daunt, 
Indian agent at New Westminster, who extended assistance and co- 
operation. Acknowledgment is also made of the courtesy of Walter 
Withers, corporal (later sergeant). Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 
who acted as escort between Chilliwack and the hop camp, and as- 
sisted the work in many ways. Courtesies were also extended by 
municipal officers in Chilliwack and by the executive office of the 
Columbia Hop Co., in whose camp the work was conducted. 

This is the writer's first musical work in Canada and the results 
are important as a basis of comparison between the songs of Canad- 
ian Indians and those of Indians residing in the United States. 

On this trip the writer had the helpful companionship of her sis- 
ter, Margaret Densmore. 

iSee bibliography (Densmore, 1910, 1913, 1918, 1922, 1923, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1929 a, 
1929 b, 1932, 1932 a, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1942). 



List of songs 7 

1. Arranged in order of serial numbers 7 

2. Arranged in order of catalog numbers 9 

Names of singers, number of songs transcribed, and home of singer 12 

Special signs used in transcriptions of songs 12 

Introduction 13 

Treatment of the sick 17 

War songs 41 

Potlatch songs 48 

Dance songs 51 

Social songs 61 

Slahal game songs 64 

Gambling songs 72 

Canoe songs 73 

Stories and their songs 75 

Love songs 81 

Divorce songs 84 

Miscellaneous songs 85 

Miscellaneous notes 95 

Summary of analyses 95 

Bibliography 99 



1. 1, Street in hop-pickers' camp. 2, Typical dwellings in hop-pickers' 

camp 100 

2. 1, Communal dwelling in hop-pickers' camp. 2, "Red Cross shack" in 

which songs were recorded 100 

3. 1, Group of Indians engaged in barter of clothing. 2, Corner of hop 

field 100 

4. 1, Wires lowered for removal of hops. 2, Indians gathering hops 100 

5. 1, Women gathering hops. 2, Wires raised to original position after 

removal of hops 100 

6. 1, Indian woman and child. 2, Tasalt 100 

7. 1, Dwelling (at right) occupied by Tasalt. 2, Bones used in slahal 

game 100 

8. 1, Slahal game in progress, showing drum. 2, Slahal game in progress, 

leader indicating "guess" 100 

9. 1, Henry Haldane. 2, Mrs. Sophie Wilson 100 


1. Map of British Columbia 14 

2. Sketch showing locations of bones in slahal game 66 



1. Arranged in Order of Serial Numbers 

Songs With Treatment of the Sick 


Serial No. No. Page 

1. Introductory song with treatment of the sick 2031 19 

2. Song when treating smallpox 2032 20 

3. Song when treating fever 2035 21 

4. Song when treating palsy 2036 22 

5. Song when treating hemorrhage from the lungs 2033 23 

6. Song when treating pneumonia 2034 23 

7. Two girls on a horse 2048 (a and b) 25 

8. "Look at this sick person" 2049 26 

9. An appeal to certain animals 2050 27 

10. An appeal to the deer 2051 28 

11. "I am going to cure this sick man" 1691 30 

12. "I am trying to cure this sick man" 1693 31 

13. "The whale is going to help me cure this sick man" 1694 32 

14. "The thunderbird will help me cure this sick man" 1692 32 

15. Song of Y'ak, the medicine man (a) 1695 33 

16. Song of Y'ak, the medicine man (b) 1715 34 

17. Song of Y'ak, the medicine man (c) 1716 35 

18. "This song cheers me" 2026 36 

19. "I am going to make you better" 1711 36 

20. Doctor's song (a) 1667 37 

21. Doctor's song (b) 1668 38 

22. Doctor's song (c) 1669 38 

23. Song of a medicine man at Nitinat Lake (a) 1696 39 

24. Song of a medicine man at Nitinat Lake (b) 1697 40 

25. Doctor Jim's song 2061 40 

26. Song of a medicine man at Carmanah 1698 41 

War Songs 

27. Song when going to war 1699 42 

28. Song when returning from war 1700 43 

29. War dance song 1701 44 

30. Song when carrying heads of the enemy on poles (a) 1702 45 

31. Song when carrying heads of the enemy on poles (b) 1703 46 

32. Song concerning a ransomed captive 1672 47 

33. The rider on the kohaks 2039 47 


34. Song of approach to a potlatch 2046 49 

35. A desire for clear weather 2037 49 

36. Potlatch song 1710 50 



1. Akranged in Order of Serial Numbers — Continued 

Dance Songs 


Serial No. No. Page 

37. Dance song of the Fraser River Indians (a) 2040 52 

38. Dance song of the Fraser River Indians (b) 2041 52 

39. Dance song of the Fraser River Indians (c) 2042 53 

40. Dance song (a) 1704 54 

41. Dance song (b) 1705 54 

42. Dancesong(c) 2047 55 

43. Dance song (d) 2024 55 

44. Klokali dance song 1706 56 

45. Thunderbird dance song 1717 57 

46. Song of Campbell dance 1673 57 

47. Dance song from Babine 1690 58 

48. Dance song of the Thompson River Indians (a) 2055 59 

49. Dance song of the Thompson River Indians (b) 2056 59 

50. Song of dance with wolf headdress (a) 1712 60 

51. Song of dance with wolf headdress (b) 1713 60 

52. Song of dance with wolf headdress (c) 1718 61 

Social Songs 

53. Song after receiving a gift (a) 1707 62 

54. Song after receiving a gift (b) 1708 62 

55. Social song (a) 1674 63 

56. Social song (b) 1675 63 

57. Social song (c) 1676 64 

58. Social song (d) 1677 64 

Game Songs 

59. Slahal game song (a) 2028 67 

60. Slahal game song (b) 2023 68 

61. Slahal game song (c) 2052 69 

62. Slahal game song (d) 2053 69 

63. Slahal game song (e) 2054 70 

64. Slahal game song (f) 2057 70 

65. Slahal game song (g) 1671 71 

66. Song of pleasure 2038 72 

67. GamVjling song (a) 2058 72 

68. Gambhng song (b) 2063 73 

Canoe Songs 

69. Canoesong(a) 1665 73 

70. Canoe song (b) 1666 74 

71. Canoesong(c) 1682 75 

Songs Connected with Stories 

72. Song with story of the frog woman 1681 76 

73. "Wrap a feather around me" 1686 77 

74. "I will scrape my bod.y on the rocks" 1709 78 

75. The little boy and the whale 2061 79 

Songs foe Children 

76. Song to a little girl 1714 80 

77. Lullaby- 1680 80 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. DENSMO'RE 

1. Arranged in Order of Serial Numbers — Continued 

Love Songs 


Serial No. No. 

78. "I wish I were a cloud" 2044 

79. "All my sweethearts are gone except one" 2045 

80. "I am going to stay at home" 1687 

81. "She is glad to see him" 1688 

82. "Give me a bottle of rum" 1689 

Divorce Songs 

83. Divorce dance song (a) 1684 

84. Divorce dance song (b) 1685 

Miscellaneous Songs 

85. Song to a spirit in the fire 1683 

86. Song concerning the prophet Skilmaha 2021 

87. Song with termination of mourning 2027 

88. Song of a seal 1670 

89. Song of a shark hunter 2062 

90. Song of a hunter 2030 

91. Song of happiness 2029 

92. Dream of going to Ottawa 2025 

93. "I wish I was in Butte Inlet" 1678 

94. Song of a traveler 1679 

95. "Your pretty hair" 2060 

96. A woman's song 2043 

97. Song of a man alone at home ] 2022 

98. Indian cowboy song 2059 




2. Arranged in Order of Catalog Numbers 


Title of son? 

Name of singer 




Canoe song (a) 

Canoe song (b) 

Doctor's song (a) 

Doctor's song (b) 

Doctor's song (c) 

Song of a seal 

Slahal game song (g) 

Song concerning a ransomed captive. 

Song of Campbell dance 

Social song (a) 

Social song (b) 

Social song (c) 

Social song (d) 

"I wish I was in Butte Inlet" 

Song of a traveler 


Song with story of the frog woman.. 

Canoe song (c) 

435660—43 2 

Bob George. 







Sophie Wilson. 


Henry Haldane. 




2. Arranged in Order of Catalog Nusibers — Continued 

Title of song 

Name of siDger 



Song to a spirit in the fire 

Divorce dance song (a) 

Divorce dance song (b) 

"Wrap a feather around me" 

"I am going to stay at home" 

"She is glad to see him" 

"Give me a bottle of rum" 

Dance song from Babine 

"I am going to cure this sick man" 

"The thunderbird will help me cure this 

sick man." 

"I am trying to cure this sick man" do 

"The whale is going to help me cure 

this sick man." 

Song of Y'ak, the medicine man (a) 

Song of a medicine man at Nitinat 

Lake (a). 
Song of a medicine man at Nitinat do. 

Lake (b). 
Song of a medicine man at Carmanah.. 

Song when going to war 

Song when returning from war 

War dance song 

Song when carrying heads of the enemy I do 

on poles (a) . 
Song when carrying heads of the enemy 

on poles (b). 

Dance song (a) 

Dance song (b) 

Klokali dance song 

Song after receiving a gift (a) 1 do 

Song after receiving a gift (b) do 

Jane Green 





Ellen Stevens 


Abraham Williams. 

F. Ivnightum 



"I will scrape my body on the rocks" 

Potlatch song 

"I am going to make you better" 

Song of dance with wolf headdress (a)_- 
Song of dance with wolf headdress (b).. 

Song to a little girl 

Song of Y'ak the medicine man (b) 

Song of Y'ak the medicine man (c) 

Thunderbird dance song 

Song of dance with wolf headdress (b) . _ 

Doctor Jim's song 

Song concerning the prophet Skilmaha.. 

Song of a man alone at home 

Slahal game song (b) 

Dance song (d) 

Dream of going to Ottawa 







Wilson Williams 



Katharine Charlie.. 

Jimmie O'Hammon. 






2. Arranged in Order of Catalog Xumber — Continued 

Title of song 

Xame of singer 


"This song cheers me" 

Song with termination of mourning 

Slahal game song (a) 

Song of happiness 

Song of a hunter 

Introductory song with treatment 
of the sick. 

Song when treating smallpox 

Song when treating hemorrhage from 
the lungs. 

Song when treating pneumonia 

Song when treating fever 

Song when treating palsy 

A desire for clear weather 

Song of pleasure 

The rider on the kohaks 

Dance song of the Fraser River Indi- 
ans (a). 
Dance song of the Fraser River Indi- 
ans (b). 
Dance song of the Fraser River Indi- 
ans (c). 

A woman's song 

"I wish I were a cloud" 

"All my sweethearts are gone except 

Song of approach to a potlat ch 

Dance song (c) 

Two girls on a horse (a and b) 

"Look at this sick person" 

An appeal to certain animals 

An appeal to the deer 

Slahal game song (c) 

Slahal game song (d) 

Slahal game song (e) 

Dance song of the Thompson River 

Indians (a). 
Dance song of the Thompson River 
Indians (b). 

Slahal game song (f) 

GambUng song (a) 

Indian cowboy song 

"Your pretty hair" 

The little boy and the whale 

Song of a shark hunter 

Gambling song (b) 

Jimmie O'Hammon.. 








Dennis Peters. 






John Butcher. 



Otter Billie 



Henry McCarthy, 



Annie Bolem 


Julia jMalwer 

Jake George 

Wilson Williams. 
Julia Charlie 























ber of 


Bob George 

F. Knightum_ _ 








Powell River on Sliamon Reserve. 
Carmanah, on Vancouver Island. 

Annie Tom ___- 

Nitinat village, on Vancouver Island. 

Jimmie O'Hammon 

Tasalt . - .- . . .-- 

Squamish River. 

Near Chilliwack, on Fraser River. 

Dennis Peters 

Hope., on Fraser River. 
Skeena River. 

Jane Green __ . _ 

John Butcher 

Wilson Williams 

Lytton, on Thompson River at junction with 

Carmanah, on Vancouver Island. 

Otter Billie 

Henry McCarthy 

Sophie Wilson 

Annie Bolem _ 

Thompson River. 

Thompson River. 

Church House, on Homalko Reserve. 

Boothrovd, on Frazer River. 

Katharine Charlie 

Ellen Stevens . __ .. 

Vancouver Island. 
Nass River. 

Julia Charlie, _ _ 

Thompson River. 

Jake George ... 

Henry Haldane 

Johnson . 

Port Simpson. 
Port Simpson. 

Julia Malvv'er 

Abraham Williams 

Babine region. 




r" — 1 placed above a series of notes indicates that they constitute a 

rhythmic unit. 

(. placed above a note shows that the tone was prolonged slightly beyond 
the indicated time. 



By Fkaxces Densmore 


The Indians of British Columbia find employment in the seasonal 
industries of the region, many working in the canneries and hop- 
picking camps. About 1,000 Indians were living in such a camp 
near Chilliwack in September 1926, and from these Indians the 
material here presented was obtained. They came from widely sepa- 
rated localities, including Vancouver and Cooper Islands, the Sliamon 
and Homalko Reserves, on the west coast of British Columbia, the 
vicinities of Port Simpson, the regions adjacent to the Fraser, 
Thompson, Nass, and Skeena Rivers, and the Babine country. The 
Indians of the latter localities must travel a considerable distance to 
the railroad. Thus a singer from the Skeena River said that she 
traveled 5 hours by automobile to reach Hazelton, and a singer from 
the Babine region made the trip to Hazelton by pack horse, travel- 
ing with a friend, after manner of Indian boys. The Babine region 
takes its name from a river that flows through a lake of the same 
name. It is a sparsely settled region and mountainous. The Indians 
of all the northern region assemble at Prince Rupert, whence they are 
taken to Vancouver by steamer. There they are joined by groups from 
other localities and transported to ChiUiwack by electric cars. The 
journey is under the auspices of the several hop companies, and con- 
stables are provided by the Indian Office in each district through which 
they pass. 

Chilliwack is located on the Fraser River, 65 miles southeast of 
Vancouver. The climate in the valley is particularly favorable to 
the raising of hops, which constitute an important industry. The 
workers in the Columbia Hop Co.'s Camp are housed in cabins and 
communal houses arranged in streets (pi. 1, fig. 1). In the distance 
are seen the mountains which, at this point, mark the boundary be- 
tween the United States and Canada. There was an early, cold rain 
while the work was in progress, and snow appeared on the tops of these 

The cabins generally housed two families (pi. 1, fig. 2). The 
communal houses (pi. 2, fig. 1) had an open space in the center, 




[B0LL. 136 

Figure 1. — Map of British Columbia. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMORE' 15 

extending the length of the building, with numerous cubicles on 
each side for separate families. Each cubicle had one window. The 
cooking was done on four or five stoves in the long central space, 
each family using the stove nearest its cubicle. The buildings and 
camp streets were lighted by electricity. 

As the able-bodied people were at work during the day, it was 
necessary to record most of the songs in the evenings, and for 
this purpose the Hop Co. generously offered the use of a small build- 
ing next the entrance that was used for Red Cross supplies and 
Imown as the Red Cross shack (pi. 2, fig. 2). This contained a 
small stove and had one small window on each of the sides not 
shown in the illustration. The shack was constructed of upright 
boards with wide cracks between them. When songs were being 
recorded, a crowd usually congregated outside the building and, 
as a reward for keeping quiet, they were allowed to look through the 
cracks, so that often a row of eyes could be seen through these 
perpendicular openings. 

An interesting incident of a hop-picking camp is the exchange 
of articles of clothing brought for that purpose. The clothing of 
men, women, and children is exchanged in this manner, the trans- 
fers being attended by much discussion and bargaining, several 
garments often being exchanged for one of supposedly greater value. 
A group engaged in this form of barter is shown in plate 3, figure 1. 

The harvesting of hops is a picturesque scene. Each vine climbs 
a cord which extends from the ground to a horizontal wire stretched 
between tall poles. A corner of a hop field is shown in plate 3, 
figure 2. When the hops are ripe these wires are lowered to permit 
the picking of the hops (pi. 4, fig. 1). Drooping wires are seen in 
plate 4, figure 2, and plate 5, figure 1, ready for the harvesting of 
the hops, while plate 5, figure 2, shows the wires pulled upward to 
their original position after the hops and cords have been removed. 
The hops are gathered in baskets, which are emptied into huge can- 
vas contamers, and the pay of each worker is according to the quan- 
tity of hops that he or she gathers. It was interesting to see the 
more active pickers help the older or less capable workers by empty- 
ing an occasional basket of hops into their containers. 

The Indians employed in the hop fields are from widely sepa- 
rated localities, as stated, and many faces show the mixture of races 
which is common in British Columbia. This appears in the woman 
and her child from Kamloops (pi. 6, fig. 1) and in the portraits 
of singers and informants. 

By a fortunate circumstance, two young men in the hop-picking 
camp had been at Neah Bay, and were acquainted with the writer's 
work. They were cousins, F. Knightum and Wilson Williams by 


name, and lived at Carmanah, 5 miles from Nitinat Lake. They 
had taken their fish across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to sell at 
Neah Bay, and had often heard the Indians tell of recording songs. 
Other Nitinat besides themselves attended the celebration of Makah* 
Day, at which the writer was present. As a result of this ac- 
quaintance, the Nitinat were ready to consider the work favorably 
and consented to record 35 songs, many being the songs used in the 
treatment of the sick, which are usually diflBcult to obtain. Their 
influence assisted in the securing of songs from other groups in the 

Twenty-one singers were employed, the total number of recorded 
i^ongs being 121. These singers came from 16 localities. The songs 
recorded and not transcribed were studied; many were found to 
resemble the transcribed songs so closely as to be without value, 
while others were not of sufficient interest to be transcribed. 

Interesting data on the hunting of sea lions were obtained from 
Francis James, who lives on Cooper Island. These facts are not con- 
nected with any song, but form part of the general information 
concerning Indians of western British Columbia. 

Francis James said that his people hunt sea lions, starting on the 
hunt about the last of March. Sometimes they are able to get sea 
lions on the eastern side of the channel, almost at the mouth of the 
Fraser River. It was customary, in old days, for 14 canoes to go 
on such a hunt, and spears w^ere used in killing the animals, but 
the most important members of the expedition were the men who 
knew the words that would make a sea lion stop. There were only 
one or two such m.en with an expedition and they learned the words 
from their old people. A sea lion might be going far away, but 
when a man spoke these words it would turn back and get in such a 
position that it could be speared. The words were spoheii^ not sung. 

Sometimes a sea lion was captured that weighed a ton, and some- 
times the sea lion was so strong that it upset a canoe, or dragged the 
canoe a long way, but when the sea lion "began to die" all the men 
threw their spears into it. Sometimes the wounded animal lived 
all night, and an effort was made to get it to go toward the shore, the 
canoes, by their ropes, trying to drag it in that direction. The 
ropes had "floaters" attached to them, similar to those on the whale- 
ropes of the Makah. 

When the sea-lion hunters arrived at home, the meat was divided 
and there was a great feast. The man who first threw the spear 
into the sea lion received only the fin. The man who threw the 
second spear received the most meat and helped to divide it among 
the others. The hind Cjuarters were considered the best portion of 
the meat, but the fin was the finest delicacy. It was customary to 27] IMUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMORB 17 

pmoke the meat and keep the fat to eat with dried salmon. The 
hide was formerly used for the making of gun cases. 


Two men who are engaged in treating the sick at the present time 
consented to record a portion of the songs which they use and to 
describe their methods. These men were Tasalt (pi. 6, fig. 2), who 
lives near Chilliwack, B. C, and John Butcher, who lives at Lytton, 
on the Thompson Kiver. Both are men past middle age, but in 
sturdy health, working in the hop fields and living in the camp 
while hop picking is in progress. 

Tasalt is commonly known as Catholic Tommy. The name Tasalt 
is inherited from a remote past and he does not know its meaning. 
In manner and mode of life he is quiet. H. Harding, Chief of 
Municipal Police in Chilliwack, has a wide and intimate acquaintance 
with Indians throughout the region, but did not know that Tasalt 
treated the sick, until the present material was obtained. Although 
Jiving in the hop-pickers' camp, Tasalt was not in one of the com- 
munal houses. Instead, he lived in a shack located in the rear of 
a building on the edge of the camp (pi. 7, fig. 1). It seemed scarcely 
a habitation for a human being, even as a temporary abode, but it 
had the advantage of privacy. Tasalt's wife is a cripple, lying on 
a rough wooden bunk while he is absent at work. The roof is low 
and little light enters the place, yet in these surroundings the writer 
found this interesting medicine man. 

Songs are the chief means employed by Tasalt in treating the sick. 
His mother was a doctor, hut did not teach him and gave him no 
songs. He has received all his songs from spirits. His wife sings 
and drums while he treats the patient. He does not draw his hands 
along the patient's body, which is a method used by John Butcher 
(cf. p. 24), but he "gets the sickness and throws it away." After this 
has been done, he tells the patient not to eat much, and the sick man 
rests and sleeps. In a severe case he must work two or three times, 
but after the "sickness has been taken out" the person regains his 
strength rapidl3^ No material remedies are used. All sorts of cases 
are brought to him and he treats them all, having special songs for 
certain illnesses. He said that he had been able to help all except 
two of these cases, but "when he sees the sick person gradually dis- 
appear so that only the clothes remain, he gives up." He allows 
the persons in the room to cry if they wish to do so. This is forbidden 
in many tribes because of a belief that it will reduce the power of 
the doctor who is treating the sick person. In these tribes, the rela- 
tives of the patient and all who aie in the room are asked to sing 


with the doctor in order to augment his power by their own. Tasalt 
requires no assistance except that of his wife. 

When the purpose of the present work had been explained to 
Tasalt, he said that he would record his songs for the treatment 
of smallpox, fever, palsy, hemorrhage from the lungs, and pneumo- 
nia. Five songs were recorded, and it was supposed the entire series 
had been obtained, so the subject of inquiry was changed. About a 
week later, Tasalt returned, and said that he did not record the song 
for the treatment of pneumonia and wished to record it in order 
to fulfill his promise. He explained that the first song he recorded 
was in the nature of an introduction and should not have been 
counted as part of the series. He came again and recorded his 
song for the treatment of pneumonia, following it with his own 
dancing song (not transcribed), after which he said that he had 
finished his contribution of songs. The sources of the songs for the 
treatment of smallpox, fever, and pneumonia were not designated, 
but the other two were received from spirits not hitherto mentioned 
in connection with the treatment of the sick. 

The introductory song and the songs for the treatment of small- 
pox and fever are similar in character (Nos. 1, 2, and 3). They are 
soothing melodies, framed by the descending tetrachord B flat-A-G- 
F and the tetratone (incomplete tetrachord) G-F-D. The opening 
measures are practically the same in these songs. The phrase indi- 
cated as the rhj^thmic unit is not repeated with accuracy, as in other 
songs, but contains interesting variations. The occurrences of this 
phrase are indicated by consecutive letters in the three songs (A to 
O), the only duplications occurring in the phrases G and I, and the 
phrases E and N. In these, as in other songs used by Indian doctors, 
it appears that the basis of musical therapy among the Indians con- 
sists in the use of subtle rhythms, and in variations of rhythm that 
hold the attention of a listener. 

After singing each song as transcribed, Tasalt repeated a portion 
of the melody, taking care to bring his performance within the 
length of the phonograph cylinder. Each song has its own charac- 
teristic quality and the partial rendition of one song could not be 
mistaken for that of another. The first song contains 33 ascending, 
and 40 descending intervals. Approximately the same number of 
ascending and descending intervals occurs in the two songs next 
following, showing that the length, as well as the form, of the song 
was clear in the singer's mind. 27] MUSIC OF ESTDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOEB 


No. 1. Introductory Song With Treatment of the Sick 

(Catalog No. 2031) 
Recorded by Tasalt 

Voice J = 60 
Drum J = 60 
See drum rhythm below 

Drum rhythm 

Free translation. — This person is going to cure me and I will be very glad when I am cured. 

Analysis. — The characteristic of this song is its positive quality, expressed 
chiefly by an equal emphasis on the first and second counts of the measures 
in the rhythmic units (cf. No. 42). Attention is directed to this count in 
phrases A, C, and E, the first note on this count being a repetition of the pre- 
ceding tone. The alternate phrases (B and D) are distinctly cheerful, with 
a bright, crisp division of the second count. The ascent from F to G, which 
has occurred frequently throughout the song, is changed to the ascending series 
G-A-B fiat in the fourth from the final measure. Other drum rhythms are shown 
with Nos. 11, 14, 27, 28, and 59. 



No. 2. Song V/hen Treating Smallpox 

Recorded by Tasalt 

[Bull. 136 

(Catalog No. 2032) 




1 r 



Free transhitlon. — I am curing you. 1 am going to talce you and cure you. 

Analysis. — The chief characteristic of this melody is the succession of miuor 
thirds at the close of each phrase. The division of the first connt of the rhythmic 
unit is alteruately two sixteenth notes followed by an eighth and the reverse. 

In the practice of Tasalt, a person suffering from fever was not al- 
lowed to drink water. 


No. 3. Song When Treating Fever 
Recorded by Tasai.t 

(Catalog No. 2035) 

Free translation. — Strengthen me, make me live, dear spirit. 

Analysis. — The opening of this song is more direct than the two preceding, 
which it so closely resembles in many respects. The first tone is accented, not 
preceded by a short, unaccented tone as in the preceding songs. The melody 
moves more freely, and descends to the final tone by several descending inter- 
vals. It is interesting to note the downward glissando and the short pause in 
the opening portion of the melody. 

A spirit called ha'wil gave the next song to Tasalt. This spirit wag 
said to live in the water and to resemble a dog, but it had a golden 
breast and golden eyes. The song was used for severe cases of shak- 
ing palsy. 


No. 4. Song When Treating Palsy 

Recorded by Tasalt 

[Boll. 136 

(Catalog No. 2036) 


yi^ }rFir ^ ' ll i ^-| [j-C J'tfftgf4g^ 

n4 err m^i-m iiisp'^ci^r \^^^ ^ 

gffi pg ^ u r Mf-^ pi r Cff flg fO^^ 

J^ree translation. — I am hawil and I am going to take the disease away. 

Analysis. — The rhythm of this song is particularly steady and well defined, 
which would adapt it to its purpose. No rhythmic unit occurs and the song con- 
tains frequent changes of measure lengths but the steady quality is maintained. 
Alternate measures end with a rest except in the closing measures. Attention 
is directed to a melodic phrase which occurs on the first count of the fifth and 
ninth measures. A swaying of the melody in successive descent and ascent is 
restful and soothing and was noted also in the songs of a Yuma doctor (cf. 
Densmore, 1932, Nos. 40, 41, 42, and 43). 

Tasalt said that he learned the next song when he was "training to 
be a doctor," and that he received it from a "wild spirit" called 
skeup'. He could not describe this spirit but said the spirits went 
away when the white men came. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMORE 


No. 5. Song When Treating Hemorrhage From the Lungs 

(Catalog No. 2033) 
Recorded by Tasalt 

Free translation. 

-I am going to cure tbis hemorrhage (the last word being an imperfect 
pronunciation of the English word). 

Analysis.— The structure of this is different from the other healing songs re- 
corded by Tasalt. There is no rhythmic phrase and the melody flows smoothly 
within its compass of ten tones. The downward and upward swaying of the 
melody, mentioned in the song next preceding, appears also in this song, with 
its soothing effect, while a certain liveliness is introduced by means of the di- 
vided triplets of eighth notes in the fourth and fifth measures. The ear expects 
the same at the opening of the sixth measure, but the first tone is prolonged and 
is followed by several triplets. This is the gentlest melody recorded by Tasalt, 
with no rhythms that would excite a patient. 

No. 6. Song When Treating Pneumonia 
Recorded by Tasalt 

(Catalog No. 2034) 



a-». r I? ir:/7 H4^-^ iJ:»f j s=^7^^?^ 

Analysis. — In this song with its short, almost jerky rhythm, we find a contrast 
to the preceding songs of this group. The time is broken by rests and there is 
one rhythmic unit. The song has a compass of an octave, and the pitch of the 
lowest tone is four tones lower than in the preceding songs recorded by Tasalt. 
The slight break in the time caused by the 5-8 measure is interesting and was dis- 
tinctly given. The tones occurring in the melody are B flat, C, E flat, F, and G, 
with B flat as the implied keynote. These constitute the first 5-toned scale (cf. 


footnote, p. 71) in which the third and seventh above the keynote do not occur. 
This scale occurs rarely in Indian music under the present system of analysis, 
appearing only 21 times in 1,553 songs. Other occurrences in this series are 
Nos. 37, 43, and 9-1. 

The second native doctor wlio recorded songs is John Butcher wlio, 
as already stated, lives at Lytton on the Thompson River. His na- 
tive name is Skwealke, briefly translated "Dawn." He is not tall, but 
lieavy in stature, with a bushy, iron-gray beard. John Butcher and 
his family live in "E" (pi. 2, fig. 1), one of the large, communal 
houses provided for the hop-pickers, and his cubicle is first at the right 
of the entrance. He is very industrious, working in the hop- 
fields all day, so it was necessary to record his songs in the evening, in 
the Red Cross shack (pi. 2, fig. 2). His granddaughter acted as his 

Fasting is practiced by Butcher as a means of maintaining his 
power. It is said that he goes into the mountains and sometimes 
remains 7 or more days without food. During this time he sees the 
"little people," who are like Indians, but about 3 feet in height. They 
run around with sickness between their hands and put it into the 
people. Butcher gets it out, throws it away, and tells the little people 
to go away. While he is in the mountains, he talks with the animals 
who are his helpers, and they show him medicinal plants, telling 
their uses. (Cf. p. 29; also Densmore, 1922, pp. 127-128.) 

When treating illnesses of a general character, Butcher puts his 
hands in water and then lays his hands on the sick person's head and 
moves them downward to his feet, then he "seems to hold the sickness 
in his two hands," and he makes motions as though throwing it away 
somewhat as though he were throwing a ball. In his treatment he 
sings, and then goes away, returning the next day. It is usually neces- 
sary for him to visit a sick person three times. No one sings with him 
unless the patient is verj^ sick. In such a case he gets another doctor 
to help him and both sing. 

The healing songs he recorded are those he uses in a case of con- 
finement and are the first songs of this class that have been recorded 
by the writer. (A song for this purpose was recorded among the Semi- 
nole in Florida in 1933.) If a birth is delayed, he puts his hands in 
water and "rubs the patient's abdomen." Aside from this, his treat- 
ment of such cases is entirely by means of songs. He said the deer is 
a particularly good helper in such cases and that by its aid the child 
comes quickly and with little pain to the mother. 

The first song of the series mentions two girls on a horse, the first 
girl telling the one who sits behind her to strike the horse to make it 
firo faster. 



No. 7. Two Girls on a Horse 

(Catalog No. 2048, a and &) 
Recorded by John Butcheb 


J= 120 

Irregular in tonality 

?d crrr i rrr i rcrnr- i rrrirrn^^ 




» y. mea n I t 


mea s ure 


ii-i- i crroff 

( P|>CI»i P l » 



: 92 

■ni';jr i rirP7nrrr i tfrr^/r i !^'vPri i^ 

.^^^bi'TcrPv i i^r rjiPrr i P^prrir Hrp^ni 

v=b4g^^rnrrt-ii:ir ii riCrm 

ff g P ■- u^ A j9 jjr-f 





6:1:, U 5 1 



it 1 





IH _ 







i;i ^ ^ 
























■^b4 rcrerpvf^iiBTcrrrtf^ ^^^ 

Free translation 

Poor sister, hit the horse, 

Good-bye, my friend. 

435660 — 43 3 



[Bull. 136 

Analysis. — The introduction to this song contains only the tones A and B flat. 
The phrases are generally two or four measures in length, each followed by a 
rest of at least a quarter note duration. In its repeated semitones the melody 
conveys an impression of stark suffering, yet it is a gentle melody, seeming to 
express also the sympathy of the doctor. 

The healing songs used by John Butcher are characterized by a sixteenth note 
followed by a rest, occurring in the opening measures of this song and on the 
accented count of the rythmic unit. The melody tones are F, G, A, and B flat, 
with G as the implied keynote. In tone material and in prolonged tones, this 
melody resembles a portion of the Makah and Clayoquot songs recorded at Neah 
Bay, Washington. The progressions are small, 17 of the 40 intervals being whole 
tones. The measures transcribed in 5-8 time were uniformly sung in all the 
renditions, and the long rests were uniform in duration. 

In the next song, the doctor talks to a sturgeon and to a bird. The 
words of the interpreter are retained in the translation. It is in- 
teresting to note that the doctor does not ask that his own powers be 
strengthened, but that aid be extended to the patient. The same con- 
cept is expressed in the Chippewa tribe by the words translated "take 
pity," the phrase being frequently used to denote the attitude of 
supernatural beings toward members of the human race. 

No. 8. "Look at This Sick Person" 

(Catalog No. 2049) 

Recorded by John Butcheb 

J =66 

Irregular in tonality 




^^-@, p A 





^.h % ^druii^ ^ 








y ^ I F f -bwaferi hnsl 1 C — I 1 tiinfiTB \bsS — H 1 r / — i- 1 

Free translation 
Go easy on this sick person, 
Look at this sick person and go easy. 

Analysis. — The most prominent tone in this song is B, and the melody pro- 
gresses chiefly between B and A sharp, with single occurrences of G sharp and 
sharp. After singing the song as transcribed, the singer began at the opening 
measures, but did not give an accurate repetition, occasionally varying the length 
of unimportant tones or substituting two sixteenth notes for one eighth note. 



The free use of rhythm by this singer is shown by the slight differences in the 
rhythmic units of this and the two songs next following, these units being shown 
separately for convenience in comparison (p. 29). Only one duplication occurs, 
the second unit in No. 9 being lilje the fourth unit in No. 10. In two instances a 
phrase designated as a rhythmic unit in one song occurs once in another song. 
The length of the tones was clearly defined throughout these songs, and the 
slight differences in the phrases show a remarkable preception of rhythm on the 
part of the singer. 

Two songs were taught to Butcher by his father whose name meant 
Road. The melody was the same in the two songs and the transcrip- 
tion is from the first song. In this the doctor talks to the seal, grizzly 
bear, and deer, and in the second song he talks to the eagle. Before 
recording these songs Butcher spoke a few sentences which were trans- 
lated as follows : "I hope the sick person gets well. It will be awful if 
she goes away and dies." 

No. 9. An Appeal to Certain Animals 

Recorded by John Butchek 

(Catalog No. 2050) 

Irregular in tonality 



Analysis.— The phonograph record of this song is about two minutes in dura- 
tion, with no repetition of the sequence of phrases here presented. The tran- 
scription is terminated arbitrarily, as in some of the healing songs of the Yuma. 
A large portion of the intervals are approximately semitones. The small com- 
pass, noted in songs recorded at Neah Bay, consists of a fundamental tone and 
the adjacent tones above and below. The time was maintained with great 

The recording of the next song was ended abruptly. A group 
of men had gathered around the door of the shack where the songs 
were being recorded, and Butcher said they would be harmed by 
hearing these songs. In the portion recorded, he calls upon the 
deer, and there is a pause during which he imitated the sounds made 



[Bull. 136 

by a deer. This was said to mean that the deer heard and answered 
his appeal. He said that if he had continued he would have called 
upon the grizzly bear. 

No. 10. An Appeal to the Deer 

Recorded by John Butcheb 

Analysis. — An examination of this melody shows a prominence of a minor 
third in the portion before the voice of the deer is supposed to be heard, and 
a prominence of a whole tone thereafter. Three-fourths of the intervals are 
whole tones. This and the two songs next preceding are on the same pitch 
and in approximately the same tempo, showing the ability of the singer to hold 
both pitch and tempo. 

John Butcher said that the songs for success in hunting had the 
same melodies as the songs for treatment of the sick, but appealed to 
the animals for success in hunting. A song of this sort, recorded 
but not transcribed, did not duplicate the melody of any recorded 
song for the sick, but was in the same style, with the same prolonged 
tones. Butcher sings this before going to hunt, so he will have good 
luck. The words are : 

Going out to hunt deer, going to get my gun, and I scared up a big bear. I 
killed a deer and let the bear eat it. 

Reference has already been made to the following comparison of 
rhytlimic units in songs recorded by this singer. 

Anthbop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMORE 



Rhythmic Units in No. 8 


<> g fg. 





Rhythmic Units in No. 9 




Rhythmic Units in No. 10 

ti pj ^ x ^S 


-tg p | - 

^ l-ifll 

I IgWTiai .r. .. u.— 







-fcg""^ .r I . ■ 

Information concerning tlie treatment of the sick by Nitinat medi- 
cine men was obtained from two cousins, F. Knightum and Wilson 
Williams, who came from Carmanah, a village on Vancouver Island. 
They were accustomed to sing with their grandfather while he treated 
the sick, and in this manner they learned his songs. Their grand- 
father's name was Y'ak, a Nitinat name which has no known mean- 
ing. The Nitinat medicine men were said to confine their activities 
to helping the sick, "not throwing sickness at other people, as is done 
in some other tribes." 

The Nitinat use herbal remedies for minor ailments and injuries. 
Some major illnesses and conditions are treated by "sucking out the 
difficulty" and others by passing the hands downward over the pa- 
tient's body and then "throwing away the sickness," in a manner 
already described. Knightum said that if a man were injured and 
"the blood settled," his grandfather would suck out the trouble; he 
also "sucks out little worms, kills them, and throws them away." He 
does not give any herbal remedies. 

Four sources of their grandfather's power were described by the 
informants, these being the wolves, the whales, the spirits of the dead, 
and the thunderbird. The first will be mentioned in connection with 
the treatment of the sick. Knightum said that his grandfather once 
speared a whale which talked to him, and therefore a whale helps 
him at the present time. The spirits of the dead sometimes come to 
him and give him songs to use in treating the sick. (Cf. Densmore, 
1929 a, pp. 115-135.) 

Y'ak treats a sickness which has been put into human beings by 
"little people who live in the mountains and come down"; he also 



[BOLL. 136 

treats sickness caused by other human beings, his method being the 
same for both. In this treatment, the patient lies on his back and 
y'ak, using native red paint, makes a drawing of a wolf on the man's 
chest. He then takes a piece of soft cedar bark, puts it on the sick 
man's head, and begins to sing. During the treatment, he puts his 
hands on the f)icture of the wolf, draws them down to the man's feet 
and "throws the sickness away" by casting it from his fingertips. 
The treatment is always given at night and he allows the people to 
cry if they are moved to do so. 

The songs of this medicine man are in groups of four and he calls 
upon one or another of his sources of power as he feels that the case 
requires. He usually sings 3 or 4 nights with a sick person, this 
time being sufficient for a cure, and sings different songs each 
night, changing them as he likes. Among the Nitinat, as in some other 
tribes, the number of singers is increased if the patient is very ill, 
thus enabling more persons to add their power to that of the doctor. 
Ivnightum said that if a person is very sick his grandfather "needs 
lots of singers" and that "everybody sings." The songs are accom- 
panied by beating on an ordinary hand drum. ^Vliile singing these, 
songs, his grandfather "sees everything, all over the world." The 
words of these songs are sunnnarized in the titles, and, w'ith one 
exception, contain the affirmation which characterizes the songs of 
Indian doctors. 

No. 11. "I Am Going to Cure This Sick Man" 

(Catalog No. 1691) 
Recorded by F. Kniohtum 

Voice J = 108 
Drum J = 108 
See drum rhythm below 


^^^^^ ^^^^ ^ 


a jp'^ i r rr-pi ] 

-^ — i- 

Drum rhythm 


Analysis. — The first four tones in this melody are the principal tones occurring 
In the song. They constitute a minor triad and minor seventh, a group of tones 
found in particularly primitive melodies. The occurrence of G as a passing 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOREi 


tone completes the material of tlae second S-toned scale. It is a forceful melody, 
containing no change of measure lengths and progressing by 10 ascending and 
11 descending intervals. Other occurrences of the 5-toned scale are Nos. 15, 18, 
and 65 (cf. footnote, p. 71). 

No. 12. "I Am Trying to Cure This Sick Man" 

(Catalog No. 1693) 
Recorded by F. Knighttjm 

Voice J r 100 
Drum J z 100 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

-®- -a^ 





Free translation.- 

-I am trying to cure this sick man as I treated when I first began to be a 

Analysis. — This is a melody of unusual simplicity, containing only the tones 
of the major triad. In its emphasis on the first count of the measures and in 
its general effect of firmness, it resembles a majority of the other songs attributed 
to T'ak. This personal peculiarity in a man's songs is seldom noted in Indian 
music and suggests that Y'ak was a man of strong character. The song contains 
9 ascending and 10 descending progressions. 

An interesting attempt at part singing occurred during the recording 
of this song, another singer "putting in extra tones" softly, during 
prolonged tones of the melody (cf . p. 48) . 



[BULL. 136 

No. 13. "The Whale Is Going to Help Me Cure This Sick Man" 

(Catalog No. 1694) 
Recorded by F. Kniqhtum 

Voice J = 96 
Drum J : 96 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

mtt^i^^lnr vP ii ^^^-^ i Crr y^ 

^^h^lLrMt^m'ir M L ^ ftfT"^ 

^^ij r u r Ln^ 

f m p 


J ^ r 

_ F 

Analysis. — This melody is framed chiefly on four descending tetratones (in- 
complete tetrachords), these being C-B flat-G, B flat-G-F, G-F-D, and F-D-C, 
followed by a descent from D to G. The song closes on C and is transcribed as 
having F for its keynote, though its tonality is not established. It resembles the 
song next preceding in the use of a half note on the first count of the rhythmic 

No. 14. "The Thunderbird Will Help Me Cure This Sick Man" 

(Catalog No. 1692) 
Recorded by F. Kniqhtum 

Voice Jz 100 
Drum J = 108 
See drum rhythm below 

>\4 ^ to iEg ^^w^T£ftr t^fi#i^f:y^ 








Drum rhythm 
J J . J J J J 

Anthbop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOKE' 


Analysis. — Five sorts of intervals occur in tliis song. To this variety is due, 
in part, the cheerful and lively character of the melody. Attention is directed 
to the discrepancy in the metric unit of voice and drum, each tempo being steadily 

The three songs next following were recorded by Y'ak's grandsons, 
but no information was obtained concerning their use. 

No. 15. Song of Y'ak, the Medicine Man (a) 

(Catalog No. 1695) 
Recorded by F. Knightum 

Voicd J = 104 
Drum J = 104 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

^VitJ ^ f | py[fe 

m- » ,»-_' Aijft 



(1) (2) 

(2) ^ ^ 

.^/MitivJi i i^ i P^to' 

m- »,m ^ m 


Analysis. — ^A decided contrast is noted between this and the four preceding 
songs attributed to the same man. This song is more lively, contains shorter 
note value, and has two rhythmic units. The tone material is the same as that 
which formed the framework of No. 11, but this song contains no passing tone. 
The song contains no change of measure lengths, and the ascending and descending 
intervals are equal in number. Attention is directed to the occurrence of a triplet 
of eighth notes on an accented count in the first, and an unaccented count in the 
second rhythmic unit. 



[Bull. 136 

No. 16. Song of Y'ak, the Medicine Man (b) 

(Catalog No. 1715) 

Recorded by Wilson Williams 

Voice J z 112 
Drum J z 112 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

'h^' -j f ^ I tirP^f pf J|'r r ir Virrr'irr 

,\' r jT^Pic/pvirtrir r \ r (Tv i r cTir r \n^7\ 

i^^\^IN.fnr r-7Picjp^rrfeff-tggfff 

^ r^^ l ^^l^Pi!^^pvi^^lrplTfp^ !i ^pv: | | 

Fi n e 
Free translation. — I hope you will be cured by me. 

Analysis. — The rest which occurs in the rhythmic unit of this song is always 
preceded by an ascending and followed by a descending interval. Rests in the 
rhythmic unit of an Indian song are somewhat unusual. This song contains 
three double occurrences of the rhythmic unit, with connective measures in dif- 
ferent rhythms, giving variety to the rhythm of the song as a whole. The last 
10 measures were omitted in some renditions, the connective measure being in- 
troduced at this point and the singer returning to the opening of the melody. 
With the exception of three intervals, the song progresses by minor thirds and 
whole tones. 



No. 17. Song of Y'ak, the Medicine Man (c) 

(Catalog No. 1716) 
Recorded by Wilson Whxiams 

Voice J : 112 
Drum J : 112 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

^,l„ :; - Jilff.fT-f-^^MM^m 

^ i.^^£f^.r.,r.r ^^ rf£fc£# i 

Analysis. — A peculiarity of this song is the short tones followed by short rests. 
Several renditions were recorded, this exclamatory style being carefully main- 
tained. The rhythm is more interesting than the progressions, which consist 
chiefly of minor thirds and whole tones. Drum and voice were synchronous 
throughout the performance. 

Another song used by Y'ak, the medicine man, was studied but not 
transcribed, as it contained no peculiarities that have not already been 
noted in his songs. 

The next singer said his father was a doctor and received songs from 
a spirit which appeared to him in the mountains. It was his father's 
custom to go into the mountains and remain without food. Once he 
became ill, after remaining without food or water for 2 days, and a 
spirit came and helped him, so that he did not die. The spirit 
looked like a woman and changed its appearance, so that sometimes 
it was large and sometimes small. This spirit became his constant 
helper. He saw it whenever he went into the mountains and it gave 
him songs. The interpreter, about 32 years old, said this man was 
his uncle and that, as a child, he saw the man going away to the 
mountains. No description of his treatment of the sick was obtained. 
This is one of his songs : 


No. 18. "Tliis Song Cheers Me" 
Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 

[Boll. 136 

(Catalog No. 2026) 

Voice J = 56 
Drum J = 76 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

1^. r mf P \r ^:Mi=^r^ ^^ 

Free translation 
For a long time I have been walking and seeing nothing ; 
Now I find this song and it cheers me. 

Analysis. — This melody is based on the interval of a fourth, which is often 
associated with motion in men, birds, or animals. This interval occurs first 
between B and E, then as A descending to E, while the song closes with E 
descending to B in the lower octave. The two latter intervals contain a passing 
tone. The tone material is that of the second 5-tonod scale. Attention is di- 
rected to the difference in tempo of the voice and drum, this difference being 
steadily maintained. 

Annie Tom recorded a song used by lier grandfather, who was a 
doctor and obtained his power from the thunderbird. The words form 
the title and contain the affirmation which characterizes many Indian 
songs used in treating the sick. 

No. 19. "I am Going to Make You Better' 

Recorded by Annie Tom 

(Catalog No. 1711) 

Voice J : 52 
Drum J : 52 
Drum. rhythm similar to No. i 

mlk, X ^r¥ 





Analysis. — This peculiar song was sung once, after which the repeated portion 
was sung four times. The intonation on the tone transcribed as D sharp in 
the opening measures was somewhat uncertain, approaching E if the pliono- 
graph were freshly wound, thus increasing its speed and slightly raising the 
pitch. The chief interest of the song lies in its rhythm, which was maintained 
throughout the performance. The beat of the drum is rapid, consisting of four 
beats to one time unit of the melody. 

Bob George said that his grandfather was a doctor and that the 
next was his personal song. The singer heard his father sing it and 
learned it in that manner. His father died in 1920 at the age of 
about 100 years. This indicates the age of the song. 

No. 20. Doctor's Song (a) 

Recorded by Bob Geokge 

(Catalog No. 1667) 

Analysis. — An alternation of double and triple measures characterizes this 
song, the first of each measure being strongly accented except in the third and 
seventh measures. The first phrase contains four and the second phrase contains 
five measures, the additional length being secured by a change of accent on a 
quarter note in the latter portion of the phrase. It is a cheerful, pleasing 
melody and yet, to our ears, it has a plaintive character. This may be due to 
the prominence of the subdominant in the eight measures preceding the close. 

No information was obtained concerning the next two songs except 
that they belonged to doctors. 


No. 21. Doctor's Song (b) 
Recorded by Bob George 

[Bull. 136 

(Catalog No. 166S) 

Analysis. — Ouly three tones occur in this song, but the variety in the move- 
ment and rhythm produces an agreeable melody. The song contains 32 measures 
and 54 progressions, all of which are whole tones. Attention is directed to 
the prominence of E, the tone above the keynote, and to a comparison between 
the last two occurrences of the rhythmic unit. 

No. 22. Doctor's Song (c) 

Recorded by Bob Geokgb 

(Catalog No. 1669) 

Analysis. — In this melody we have an interesting example of thematic treat- 
ment, the triple measures in the opening portion being followed by two double 
measures that extend the rhythmic unit. A minor third comprises about one- 
fourth of the intervals. The keynote is regarded as B flat, the melody being 
classified as on the fourth 5- toned scale. Other songs based on this scale are 
Nos. 31, 79, 85, 91, 92, and 95. (Cf. footnote, p. 71.) 

Anthrop. Tap. No. 27] RnJSIC OF ESTDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOKE 


No. 23. Song of a Medicine Man at Nitinat Lake (a) 

(Catalog No. 1696) 
Recorded by F. Knightum 

Voice J r 88 
Drum J r 88 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

^^■T^f^j ^l^^a 

Analysis. — Tliree renditions of tbis song were recorded, tbe transcription 
being from the second. Attention is directed to the portion of the song begin- 
ning with the seventh measure. There was little accent in this portion and 
the division into measures is somewhat arbitrary, but the time value of the 
eighth note was maintained. This is a semirecitative and in other renditions 
we find the same general melodic pattern, but not an exact duplication of 
phrases. The principal interval is a descending whole tone which comprises 
20 of the 50 progressions. This and the descending minor third, which occurs 
frequently, were sung somewhat glissando, producing a soothing effect. 



[BULL. 136 

No. 24. Song of a Medicine Man at Nitinat Lake (b) 

(Catalog No. 1697) 
Recorded by F. Knightum 

Voice J r 72 
Drum J = 72 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 1 

tm r/rr-Q ir^ ^ 


Analysis. — The transcription of this song is from the first rendition, the 
remainder of the performance containing the characteristic phrases, but no 
exact repetitions. Attention is directed to the fourth measure from the close 
with its explosive accent on the second count. The slow tempo and small in- 
tervals occurring in the open measures of the song suggest gentleness, 
while the short, crisp phrases followed by short rests are full of energy, intensi- 
fied by the rapid beats of the drum. More than three-fourths of the intervals 
are whole tones, occurring chiefly in descending progression. 

It is the custom in many tribes to designate a man only by a nick- 
name. The doctor to whom the next song belonged was known as 
"Doctor Jim." He had been dead for many years, but was remem- 
bered as a "good doctor." 

No. 25. Doctor Jim's Song 

Recorded by Kathkrine Charlie 

(Catalog No. 1719) 

Voice J : 63 
Drum J : 63 
Drum rhythm 





^ I 

m^ ^jtfmtw^t r^ 



imnM mfuuiinr^-mvm^ m 



Analysis. — Drum and voice were synchronous in all the renditions of this 
song, the drumbeats being distinctly given. The first portion of the melody 
is based on the descending and ascending interval of a fourth, and the second 
portion, with a different rhythm, is based upon consecutive whole tones. With 
one exception the progressions are whole tones and minor thii'ds. 

A certain medicine man living at Carmanah is able to locate lost 
persons and articles. It is his custom to dance with his arms held 
out and shaking, his fingers extended and trembling, this manner 
probably being in accordance with his dream. It was said that a man 
once went out hunting and became lost. This doctor danced for 
about 3 hours before he was able to locate the man, then he told the 
people where they would find the hunter. The people went to the 
place indicated by the doctor and there they found the man. His 
song has no words. 

No. 26. Song of a Medicine Man at Carmanah 

(Catalog No. 1698) 
Recorded by F. Kniqhtum 

Voice J r 80 
Drum J r 84 

Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 
1st rendition 




:, *' M ^' yjF ^ 

^F^-R^y^M^#f-^te g^ p^^^ 

2nd rendition 

^Mf ir rtgg^#fi-#f; 

3rd rendition 


^ ^^teB^fej^feii^ M n ni 

Analysis. — In this agitated melody with its slight changes in repetition we 
find a contrast to the calm, reassuring songs of Y'ak, a contrast which corres- 
ponds to the methods employed by the two men. Eight renditions of this song 
were recorded, the first phrase showing three variations, as indicated in the 
three renditions which are presented. The drum is slightly faster than the 
voice, each tempo being maintained through the performance. 


The customs of war differ among the tribes represented at Chilli- 
wack, and songs from three localities were recorded. The largest 
group is from the Nitinat, who cut off the heads of their enemies, 

435660 — 43 4 



[BDLL. 136 

a custom which also prevailed among the Makah (Densmore, 1939, 
pp. 184-185). These songs are very old and have come down from 
the time when the Nitinat used spears and Imives in war. The 
following song was sung when they were ready to embark in their 
canoes for a war expedition. 

No. 27. Song When Going to War 

(Catalog No. 1699) 

Recorded by F. Knightum 

Voice J = 96 

Drum J :96 

See drum rhythm below 


AM^j^4gffl^fetfff^ vir itu^ ^ 

^•^b g]/'7| |. j! pB::^^^^J- ilii*l J ^ 

Drum rhythm; Quarter notes in opening measures followed by 

n r^ r^ 

Analysis. — This melody begins on the first of the measure and is character- 
ized by force and directness. The drumbeat was variable and consisted of 
quarter notes, changing to eighth notes accented in groups of two, with an 
occasional return to the quarter-note beat. The fourth is prominent in the 
framework of the melody and, as in other songs having this characteristic, 
the keynote is not fully established. The song is, however, considered minor 
In tonality. Five renditions were recorded witliout a break in the time. 

Occasionally the Nitinat went on foot to seek the enemy, the fol- 
lowing song being sung by warriors returning on foot. The Nitinat 
have no horses at the present time, depending upon their boats for 

(Catalog No. 1700) 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMORB 43 

No. 28. Song When Returning From War 

Recorded by F. Knightum 

Voice J= 96 
Drum J : 96 
See drum rhythm below 



muU'f \ rm ^ 

^fe=^^^ ^ p Q?^gf^' Jl Q'fi^ -lf^ ^ 

Drum rhythm; Quarter notes in opening measures followed by 


A7ialysis. — Three descending fourths are prominent in the framework of this 
melody. The melodic trend resembles that of the soug next preceding and, 
as in that song, D is regarded as the keynote. 

The opening ascent of an octave was noted also in several Chippewa war 
songs. Six renditions of this song were recorded and show unimportant differ- 
ences which' occur more frequently in melodic progressions than in the rliythm. 
The singer took breath in various places, after the manner of young singers, 
the indicated rests being given in the rendition which was selected for transcrip- 
tion. The drumbeat was in quarter notes during the earlier rendition,* chang- 
ing to the triplet rhythm in the third rendition, but showing occasional beats 
in quarter-note time. 

In the dance that followed a war expedition, each warrior held 
his spear diagonally across the front of his body and, as he danced, 
he thrust the point of the spear upward above his left shoulder, 
this constituting a gesture of the dance. 

♦In music above, for "opening measures," read, "first renditions." — F. D. 


No. 29. War Dance Song 

Recorded by F, Knightxjm 

[Bdll, 136 

(Catalog No. 1701) 

Voice J^z 168 
Drum as indicated 

Analysis. — Five renditions of ttiis peculiar song were recorded, the transcrii>- 
tion being from tile third. This is the first song recorded by the writer in 
which the drumbeat is so slow that it cannot be measured by the metronome. 
The interval between drumbeats varies slightly, as indicated, and it appears 
from a comparison of the renditions that the player was guided by the relation 
between drum and voice rather than by an effort for a steady rhythm in the 
drum. Tlie melodic differences in the other renditions consist chiefly in the 
addition of passing or ornamental tones and in the omission of an occasional 
phrase. An example of ornamentation in other renditions is the substitution 
of two sixteenth notes (C-B flat) for the second eighth note (B flat) in the 
second measure. The song has a compass of 11 tones and omits the fourth 
tone of the octave. The ascending and descending intervals are almost equal 
in number, the latter comprising five each of fourths, major thirds, minor 
thirds, and whole tones, with one semitone. Such uniformity in progressions 
is unusual in the songs under analysis. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMORE 


The heads of the enemy were carried on poles in the dances that 
followed a victory. The two songs next following were sung in such 
dances and were accompanied by drums and by the striking together 
of sticks. These songs are still sung by the Nitinat in their dances. 

No. 30. Song When Carrying Heads of the Enemy on Poles (a) 

(Catalog No. 1702) 
Recorded by F. Knightum 

Voice J^r 184 
Drum as indicated 

is> — »—0- 





Drum (irregular) 

^JibJiTr^ ^ 







Analysis. — This song is characterized by a slow drumbeat similar to that in 
the song uext preceding. Four renditions were recorded and show no differ- 
ences except in the drumbeat, which varies slightly. The transcription is from 
the first rendition. The song contains 27 progressions, 17 of which' are whole 


No. 31. Song When Carrying Heads of the Enemy on Poles (b) 

(Catalog No. 1703) 

Recorded by F. Knightuu 

Voice J= 112 
Drum as indicated 

Analysis. — Several i-enditions of this song were recorded, the one selected for 
transcription being that in which the metric unit is nearest to a quarter-note. 
It is a wild, barbaric melody, sung with much freedom. This song contains 
short, explosive tones like those which occurred in preceding war songs, but 
does not have the slow drumbeat which characterized the preceding songs. 
It is based on the fourth 5-toned scale and progresses chiefly by whole tones. 

From the Sliamon and Homalko Reserve comes the song of a dance 
that was held when captives had been ransomed and brought home. 
The ransom was paid in blankets. This song was sung at such a 
dance, the men carrying a knife in one hand and a gun in the other. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B, C. — DBNSMORE 


No. 32. Song Concerning a Ransomed Captive 

(Catalog No. 1672) 
Recorded by Bob Geokge 


= 63 

\ ^hx rrJf.nn\\ir^p,yPB rrr ^^ 

^)vJ33;4N^JixiiUjijiLu^ J3|i^ li 

Analysis. — The two ascending progressions at the opening of this song are 
aggressive, and are followed by an unbroken descent of six tones. Five rendi- 
tions were recorded, followed by a short pause, after which the singer began 
upon C sharp instead of C natural, continuing his performance on that 
pitch level. 

Tasalt, whose songs in treating the sick have been presented (Nos. 
1-5), said that his tribe were not head hunters and had been at war 
during his lifetime, using bows, arrows, and spears. He recorded two 
very old songs used in war dances. These songs are connected with a 
tradition of a man who rode on a mythical creature of the deep, 
called kohaks. It is said that a dangerous water spirit lived in the 
Strait of Juan de Fuca and the man rode upon the kohaks far out on 
the water, killed the bad spirit, and returned, making a safe landing. 
By this he protected his people from danger and was qualified to 
become a warrior. 

No. 33. The Rider on the Kohaks 

Recorded by Tasai.t 

(Catalog No. 2039) 


m^^^ MM^^ ^fS^S^^^ ^m 

Free translation. — I am riding out on the kohaks. 

Analysis. — The principal tones in this melody are B flat and C. The song is 
based on a major triad and sixth, but the form is unusual, the keynote occurring 
only on the last half of an unaccented count. The rhythm is somewhat jerky 
and dilBcult to show in notation. About two-thirds of the progressions are 
minor thirds and whole tones. 


The savage spirit of ancient warfare is shown in the words of an 
old song recorded by Anna George who lives at Sardis. This war 
song belonged to her great-grandfather whose name was George, and 
she intends to teach it to her children, requesting them, in turn, to 
teach it to their descendants so that it may be preserved. The words 
of the song are "Don't you scream. I am a woman and I am going 
to hit you." The song was not transcribed. 


The man who recorded the next song is from the town of Hope, 
on the Fraser River. At a potlatch his people used two sorts of 
rattles. The man who gave the potlatch used a rattle consisting of 
a container enclosing small pebbles or shot, while the leaders of the 
ceremony used rattles made of shells. A rattle made of pecten shells 
on a hoop of whalebone was used by a Makah doctor (Densmore, 
1939, pi. 14, (^). 

The next song is that of the guests arriving at a potlatch and 
dancing as they come from their canoes. The host does not go to 
meet them, but remains to welcome them at his door. A similar 
performance was witnessed at Neah Bay, when the guests at the 
Makah Day celebration danced up the shore from a large canoe in 
which they were supposed to have arrived from distant homes. Some 
had small drums and the motions of the dance were individual. The 
approach to the place of the celebration was remarkably picturesque. 
A portion of the dances at this celebration was shown in the writer's 
paper on Nootka and Quileute Music (Densmore, 1939, pis. 22, 23, 34). 

Men and women joined in this song, which was said to be par- 
ticularly fine when sung "in parts." The addition of harmonic parts 
to a native melody has been seldom noted among the Indians. It 
may be an evidence of musical influence from the white race. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF ESTDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOEEi 49 

No. 34. Song of Approach to a Potlatch 

(Catalog No. 2046) 
Recorded by Dennis Peters 

Voice J r 72 
Drum J = 76 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

^>^^f | frift;r i rtfnrirff^ffirtrr i r rrn 

' >'^ \'\n. 


i--^.'f ff-p 

'>'^ ' ^^ 


» -p * 


f | tfF.yP 

.gA -p 

p m . a . T' 




Analysis. — The ease with which "parts" could be added to this song is shown 
by its tone material. The melody contains the tones of the major triad, with 
the sixth occurring three times. The compass of six tones lies entirely above 
the keynote, the largest interval being a major third. Ascending and descending 
intervals are about equal in number. 

No. 35. A Desire for Clear Weather 

Recorded by Tasalt 

(Catalog No. 2037) 

^ tetm^$ ^^.-'rir-rp '.;pifrp' ^ 

Free translation. — It will be nice for all the people if the weather clears. 

Analysis. — ^The tempo of this song is unusually slow and the manner of 
singing the prolonged tones is characteristic of the songs of this region. The 
division of the first count is effective and occurs twice in the song. There is 
an unusual number of rests, which were given clearly in all the renditions. 

The next song was inherited in the family of the singer and was 
sung by the host before distributing the presents at a potlach. The 



[BULi,. 136 

prolonged, high tone at the opening of the song may have been in- 
tended to attract the attention of the guests. 

No. 36. Potlatch Song 

Recorded by Annie Tom 

(aatalog No. 1710) 

Voice J : 72 
Drum J r 132 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

1 r 


s , » 



Analysis. — Four rhythmic periods form the length of this song, the rhythm 
of the first differing from the others in its opening measure. The intervals 
consist of three whole tones, occurring chiefly in descending progression. While 
E is suggested as a keynote, the tonality of the melody is not established. The 
first note of each measure, especially in the upper register, was sung with a 
decided accent. Five renditions were recorded and show no differences. 

Tlie following explanation of a potlatch was given by Francis 
James, who lives on Cooper Island. James said that when he was a 
little boy it was the custom for a man to give a potlatch in order 
to collect the debts owing to him. If his friends had borrowed money 
and it was time for payment, he announced that he would give a pot- 
latch, and told those who owed him money that he expected them to 
attend. They came and returned the money. Wlien he had received 
payment for all the debts, he gave presents to the people who had 
returned the money, perhaps a blanket or similar gift, and sometimes 
he gave them money. (Cf. Densmore 1939, pp. 72-95.) 

A song of the host at a potlatch was recorded by Dennis Peters, 
but was not transcribed as similar songs have already been presented. 
He said the host at a potlatch entered with a blanket wrapped around 
him, singing a song inherited in his family. The singers joined in 
this song. The host danced during the song and then gave away his 
blanket. The song was repeated with the gift of each valuable 
article. Between the repetitions of the song and during the bestow- 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 27] IVIUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOKB 51 

ing of the gifts there were sounds which can only be described as 
prolonged howls. An old person might give such a howl while the 
host was singing. The host would then stop singing and give the 
person the blanket or other gift which he had in his hand, after which 
he would take up another article and resume his song. 


Dennis Peters, who recorded the next three songs, is a particularly 
intelligent Indian, living at Hope. He said that, at a season of the 
year which he thought to be December, the old-time Indians living 
on the Fraser River were seized with a malady resembling fits, and 
they "had to dance to get over it." The affliction returned every 
year and lasted about a month. There were special songs for this 
dance and the songs used by the men were different from those used 
by the women. He said that his own people discontinued this custom 
20 or 30 years ago, but that it is still kept up by people living on the 
lower Fraser River Sometimes the people fainted and remained 
unconscious (or semiconscious) for 2 hours, during which time they 
wept aloud. "A whole lot of singers had to get around them and 
sing before they could get up." The emotional excitement sug- 
gests a connection between this and the cult of Smoliolia, or Skilmaha, 
also that of the Shakers, whose meetings were held regularly at Neah 
Bay, when the Makah songs were recorded. 

The dances at this annual event were of two sorts, the first being 
a slow dance with a rapid drum and the second being a dance with a 
great deal of motion and jumping. While the drum was said to be 
faster than the voice in the opening songs of this dance, the difference 
is in the number of beats in the first song, the drum being in eighth- 
note values while the song contains longer tones. In the second song 
of the group, the drum has a much faster metric unit than the voice, 
with shorter note values. 

It appears this dance had power to benefit the sick, as Peters related 
the following incident which was known to him: A young man's 
brother was seriously burned with gasoline, and the young man felt 
himself responsible for the accident. He lost his voice, and the In- 
dian doctors were unable to help him. Finally, they said he would 
regain his voice only when dancing. Accordingly, a dance was 
given for his benefit, and the moment he began to dance he regained 
his voice. He has, however, been "sickly" ever since the event. It 
is interesting to note this coincidence of the use of gasoline and 
a primitive belief in healing. 

This and the song next following are those of the slow dance with 
rapid drum. 



[BULL. 136 

No. 37. Dance Song of the Fraser River Indians (a) 

(Catalog No. 2040) 
Recorded by Dennis Petebs 

Voice J = 76 
Drum J r 76 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 


m^nj^viQ-^ i 

n \ \ f2 

« g 1 J 4' — ^ i 

Analysis. — Two interesting phases of this song are its tone material and its 
thematic structure. The tone material is that of the first 5-toned scale, in which 
the third and seventh tones above the keynote do not occur.'' The rhythmic unit 
is simple and occurs twice in the opening phrases. The seventh and eighth 
measures show two characteristic count divisions separated by a quarter note, 
and the tenth measure shows the rhythmic unit changed by an even division of 
the first count. These contrasts give intei'est to the rhythm of the song as a 
whole. The melody contains no change of measure lengths and has a compass 
of 9 tones. 

The next song is for the same part of the dance but belongs to a 
different village. 

No. 38. Dance Song of the Fraser River Indians (b) 

(Catalog No. 2(>il) 
Recorded by Dennis Petbiks 

Voice J r 92 

Drum J z 144 

Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

g o 

fiWn^i r fr^tr^ m 

\^hi f ir rr i! -rfiTirTrrfir^Tj#^ ^ 


Analysis. — Attention is directed to the discrepancy between the metric unit of 
voice and drum in this performance. The prolonged tones of the song are also 

* Other songs on this scale are Nos. 6, 43, and 94. Cf. footnote 3, p. 71. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOEE 


unusual. A group of two eighth notes occurs on both the accented and unaccented 
counts of the measure. The melody contains all the tones of the octave, which 
is unusual in the songs of British Columbian Indians. 

The next song is that of the rapid dancing in which the people 
jumped from the ground, and in -which the "dancing was even with 
the drum." The change of motion occurs "after they have been around 
two or three times." 

No. 39. Dance Song of the Fraser River Indians (c) 

(Catalog No. 2042) 
Recorded by Dennis PmnKs 

Voice J r 84 
Drum J z 84 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

\tKi ^ \ ^h \ J' HfTirTTr i f I OT^^ 

I r 

rtnrr?r^iTfFv i rrp^i^-r 


" • a ? 


Analysis. — This is a more fluent melody than the two songs immediately pre- 
ceding. It opens with an interesting phrase and closes with an ascending interval 
of a fourth. More than half the progressions are whole tones. 

The next song affords an example of two interesting customs, the 
insertion of new words in an old song and the use of mispronounced 
English words. The tune was said to be very old and the words 
"Klismus payah" are inserted between native words, occurring in the 
eighth measure. The song was sung at Christmas and the words are 
readily identified as "Christmas presents." The frequent high tones 
have a suggestion of eagerness. These are followed by descending 
series of tones. Annie Tom is from the Nitinat village on Vancouver 


No. 40. Dance Song (a) 
Recorded by Annie Tom 

[Bull. 136 

(Catalog No. 1704) 

Voice J : 108 
Drum J r 108 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 



1 r 




I feBM * 

-p-p- f^- ffl-^ 


-g^" -^ 








Analysis. — Seven renditions of this song were recorded, the only difference 
being a slight variation in the note values of the opening measures. The con- 
secutive eighth notes are effective in contrast to the other rhythms, and the 
sixteenth rest near the close of the song was clearly given in all the renditions, 
terminating a neat, short phrase. 

The next song was sung when "going toward a partner" in the dance. 

No. 41. Dance Song (b) 
Recorded by Annie Tom 

(Catalog No. 1705) 

Voice J: 96 

Drum Jz 132 

Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

.M,^t£^ ^g#Et ^f#ffff ff#^ 




gji^g fff^ffm g 



Analysis. — The duration of the three opening measures in this song is equiva- 
lent to three measures in double time, but the melody is transcribed according to 
the accents given by the singer. The tempo changes slightly during the song, 
but the tempo of the drum does not correspond to either tempo of the voice. 
Twenty-three of the 27 intervals are minor thirds and whole tones. 

The two songs next following have no words and are used in social 

Antheop. Pap. NO. 27] MUSIC OF E^fDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOEE 55 

No. 42. Dance Song (c) 
Recorded by Dennis Peters 

Catalog No. 2047) 

Voice J r 66 
Drum J - 66 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

..vtf..., .i..rrr>f4£r:fifrff'.7itJ'E^^^fa 

1 ^^fl % 81 r J — tii^ ^'^■'ia ^ I i ^ \ ^''■sua I '^ — I — M 

Analysis. — A peculiarity of this melody is the equal stress on the first and 
second counts of the measures, though the song is felt to be in double rhythm 
(cf. No. 1). A second peculiarity is the descending sequence of two whole tones 
ending on the keynote. These tones are rapid, as in Nos. 65 and 70. All the 
phrases begin with an ascending progression. The rhythmic unit occurs in the 
first and last portion of the melody, the middle portion showing a slight, but 
interesting difference in rhythm. The fourth is a prominent interval in the 
melody, two ascending fourths constituting an ascent of a seventh, midway 
through the song. 

The next song was said to be very old. 

No. 43. Dance Song (d) 
Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 

(Catalog No. 2024) 

Voice J r 66 
Drum J I 66 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 1 

taiyiu r¥"^^m£^mSTmr^iff^ 

m^ ^^m 

Analysis. — This is an interesting example of a melody on the first 5-toned scale 
hi which the third and seventh above the keynote do not occur. The sixth above 
the keynote is a prominent interval and suggests a major tonality. The song has 
a compass of nine tones, lying partly above and partly below the keynote. The 
melody shows unusual variety in form though it contains only three intervals 
other than minor thirds and whole tones. 

The following song of the Klokali was said to be very old. The 
Klokali is an important ceremony of tribes on the northwest coast and 



[BULL. 136 

was formerly held in midwinter, continuing 6 days and closing with 
dramatic dances on the beach. The modern Klokali is solely for 
pleasure and lasts only 1 day. According to Swan (1870, pp. 66, 67), 

The ceremony of the great Dukwally, or the Thunder bird, originated with the 
Hesh-kwi-et Indians, a band of Nittinats living near Barclay Sound, Vancouver 

Swan then relates the legend of the young man who was dragged 
on the stones of the beach, saying the chief of the wolves was so 
pleased with the bravery of the young man that he imparted to hira 
all the mysteries of the Thunderbird performance. A song connected 
with this legend appears as No. 74, p. 78. A description of the Klokali 
among the Makah and Clayoquot is contained in Nootka and Quileute 
Music (Densmore, 1939, pp. 101-128) . 

No. 44. Klokali Dance Song 
Recorded by Annie Tom 

(Catalog No. 1706) 

Voice J : 88 
Drum J r 88 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

Analysis. — The phonograph cylinder contains nine renditions of this melody, 
after which the singer gave the opening interval, prolonging the high tone to 
more than twice its transcribed length and allowing the voice to slide down- 
ward in a howl. The Klokali songs recorded at Neah Bay, as well as the songs 
when towing a dead whale, were terminatad in this manner. Triple and double 
measures alternate in this song, each measure beginning with a marked accent. 
The song contains seven measures and only seven progressions. 

The Nitinat Indian who recorded the next song said the Thunder- 
bird dance is danced every year, in the latter part of July, by his people. 
The costume consists of a blanket with eagle feathers suspended along 
the edge, the dancer extending his arms as he dances. The gift men- 
tioned in the song may be "about one dollar." 

Anthbop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. DENSMO'RE' 

No. 45. Thunderbird Dance Song 
Recorded by Wilson Wiluams 

Voice J z 80 

Drum J : 144 

Drum rhythm similarto No. 14 


(Catalog No. 1717) 

'Mi).^^.-F i i-.riMiririr vcri ^^ 





^ ^ I 4 



1 T 

?£r»ir i tcr^cnQ'-yrrv ir rr-r^ i ir ^ 

Free translation. — I am going to give my money to the other people. 

Analysis. — A peculiarity of this song is the discrepancy between the tempo of 
voice and drum, each being steadily maintained. The metric unit of the drum is 
not a multiple of that of the voice. Five renditions were recorded and show 
no differences except the omission, in two renditions, of the eighth and ninth 
measures. This number of renditions is valuable for comparison as the song 
is unusually diflScult. The tones are those of the minor triad and fourth and the 
song contains no change of measure lengths. 

No information was obtained concerning the next song except that 
it was connected with the "Campbell dance," in which wooden head- 
dresses were worn. 

No. 46. Song of Campbell Dance 
Recorded by Bob Geokge 

(Catalog No. 1673) 

Voice J r 88 

41;.b LL> > ... 0\~ — ?--^g-g-»-g--g— g-»4>(g p^-g-^g-g- 

yV\,^% I ^ U^ ^-fcJ S«^_--j::i.»£g^-L-d_i_ 


» l li^- GTPJt!^Q;T TP^ll 


Analysis. — This is similar to many songs heard among tribes of the north 
woodland region. It progresses entirely by minor thirds and whole tones except 
for the ascending fourth at the opening. No unit of rhythm occurs, the entire 
485660 — i3 5 



[Bull. 136 

song having a rhythmic unity which cannot be divided into phrases. There is 
no change of measure length, and the several renditions are uniform in every 

No- 47. Dance Song From Babine 
Recorded by Abbaham Wtt.t.tams 

(Catalog No. 1690) 

Voice J : 104 



^^\r \ r^ ^p^ 




Jjl^ t llK B^ 

-n prirH^t^r^ i rn^rT i nn ^ rr i rTr" 

Analysis. — As this is the only song obtained from Indians living at Babine it 
is interesting to find it a melody with so much individuality. An ascent of a 
tenth in three measures is very iinusual in Indian songs, yet it occurs twice in 
this melody, each time with a return to the original tone. Three other phrases 
ascend a fourth and return to the original tone. Thus the tone D, which is the 
lowest tone of its compass, occurs at the beginning and end of five phrases. 
The song contains all the tones of the octave except the second and sixth and, 
except for two ascending octaves, it progresses entirely by minor thirds and 
whole tones. 

The songs of a certain social dance of the Thompson River Indians 
were accompanied by a drum and by the striking together of two 
sticks, the latter accompaniment being similar to that heard at Neah 
Bay. It has also been heard among the Menominee of Wisconsin and 
the Qioctaw in Mississippi. Men and women took part in tliis dance. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OP B. C. DENSMOKB 


No. 48. Dance Song of the Thompson River Indians (a) 

(Catalog No. 2055) 
Recorded by Heney McCaethy 

Voice J : -76 
Drum J : 76 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 


2nd rendit. 

\^h^ r Ilift^^^^yffgffTlt^ ^l^ l ^ ^ 

Free translation. — Everybody, come and dance. 

Analysis. — This melody moves freely within its compass of eight tones. 
Slight differences occurred in the four renditions and, as an example of such 
differences, the second rendition is presented as well as the first The principal 
interval is a minor third. 

No. 49. Dance Song of the Thompson River Indians (b) 

(Catalog No. 2056) 
Recorded by Henry McCaetht 

Voice J = 69 
Drum J = 96 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

^ ft '^i ' ILj"[ ^ 7 1 L i d ^j ^lf^ J Ljt P y l l / l r I** '^'^ 

rm.r:rrm{^^^ ^^ 

Free translation. — Sing, everybody sing. 

Analysis. — The melodic structure of this song is based upon two whole tones 
with a larger connecting interval. Attention is directed to the discrepancy 
between the tempo of voice and drum. 



[Bull. 136 

The three songs next following were those of a dance in which a 
wooden headdress representing a wolf was worn. The circumstances 
under which the songs were recorded made it impossible to secure 
information concerning the dance. 

No. 50. Song of Dance With Wolf Headdress (a) 

(Catalog No. 1712) 
Recorded by Annie Tom 

Voice J z 100 
Drum J z 132 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

^•,,kj>,l i i:ffr|ff | fr|ffrinT | rp ^^ 




ffJifcr i r-P i r'-M^ifrriff.vf 



n: — 


a. -, 


r. ^ u. 



— idrr: 



-/» i» jy 








--2H? — 


H \^±-^ 


] — 



*1 — 1 

K ' H 

Analysis. — The compass of this song is lower than that of white women's 
voices, a peculiarity noted in a majority of songs recorded by Indian women. 
The song consists chiefly of repetitions of a rhythmic unit except the phrase 
beginning with C in the third measure. This change in rhythm gives character 
to the melody. 

No. 51. Song of Dance With Wolf Headdress (b) 

(Catalog No. 1713) 
Recorded by Annie Tom 

Voice J z 120 
Drum J : 120 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 


uaf i ff^^^^^irr l iiif- )rf rif ffl 

i >>:frfriff ifrT | fr,r ^r.r p^r^f ^ 

*» s% r ii 'i^^H^ II •^I'tTif i^|f.rr f trf . r h r? \ w 



Analysis. — A sharp, crisp manner of singing, as well as an emphasis on the 
first tone of each measure, characterizes this song. Six sorts of ascending 
intervals occur, which is an unusual variety of these progressions. It is in- 
teresting to note the difference between the measures which follow the rhythmic 
unit in its three occurrences. In the first instance, a 2-4 measure leads the 
melody upward while, in the second and third instances, a 3-A measure ends 
the phrase abruptly on a low tone. The third occurrence of the rhythmic unit 
is followed by a succession of measures in quarter and eighth notes, without 
the dotted eighths which occurred in the preceding portions of the song. 

The next song was sung when the dancing began. 

No. 52. Song of Dance With Wolf Headdress (c) 

(Catalog No. 1718) 
Recorded by Katharine Chabue 

Voice J r 108 
Drum J = 132 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

r-+ 1 T 

/i^^lffl^ ^g 


Analysis. — Five renditions of this song were recorded and in all of them 
the singer gave a clear intonation on G sharp in the second measure; the next 
occurrence was slightly lower, and the third was sung as G natural. This sug- 
gests that the pitch of the first tone was above the natural range of the singer's 
voice. The discrepancy between the tempo of ' voice and drum was steadily 
maintained. The song contains 17 measures and 40 progressions, which is an 
unusual freedom of movement. 


It is customary for a person to sing and dance alone after receiving 
a gift. This was seen at Neah Bay, on the celebration of Makah 
Day, in 1926. The recipient of a gift sang and "danced," standing 
still and turning the body from side to side while the hands were 
upraised with palms forward, on a level with the elbows. This re- 
sembled the positions in Makah honor songs (Densmore, 1939, pi. 21, 
a, 6.) 

Gifts are presented to visitors near the close of a gathering, which 
explains the words of the next song. 



No. 53. Song After Receiving a Gift (a) 

Recorded by Annie Tom 

[Bdll. 136 

(Catalog No. 1707) 

Voice J r 92 

Drum J z 14 4 

Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

mMJU^^ ^^^^m d 

Free translation. — Good-bye my friend, I am going away. 

Analysis. — An interesting discrepancy between the tempo of voice and drum 
occurs in this song, and vpas steadily maintained during the five renditions. 
The chief interest of the melody lies in the frequent use of the fourth, and in 
the measure that was sung between the renditions. The singing continued 
after the end of the phonograph cylinder had been reached but, from listening to 
the singing, it appears that the end of the melody is on E, as indicated in the 

It is probable that the person who sang the next song had received 
a gift of money at a dance. He was impressed by the amount and 
thought he might afford a room at the village hotel, which is regarded 
as the height of luxury. 

No. 54. Song After Receiving a Gift (b) 

Recorded by Annie Tom 

Voice J : 100 
Drum J z 152 
Druiii rhythm similar to No. 14 

(Catalog No. 1708) 


Free translation. — How much money for a room in the hotel? 



Analysis. — Several points of unusual interest occur in this melody. The 
metronome indication of voice and drum is as accurate as possible by the 
scale of the instrument, and it will be noted that, within the duration of a 
measure, the voice has two metric units and the drum has three units. Voice 
and drum were synchronous on the first count of each measure, and the time 
of each was steadily maintained. Attention is next directed to the similarity 
between the first phrase of the song and the connective phrase, in which the 
words occur. The latter is the more melodious and differs in the position of 
the rest. The rhythmic unit is preceded and followed by various rhythms. 
Except for one ascending fourth, the only intervals are minor thirds and whole 
tones. The song has the unusual compass of 11 tones, both the highest and 
lowest tones being distinctly sung. 

There was no dancing with the next four songs, and it was said 
that "everybody sang." The man who recorded the songs lives on 
Powell River. 

No. 55. Social Song (a) 

(Catalog No. 1674) 
Recorded by Bob Geoege 


m i^t=at^^mrrf \ r 'rmf^ ^ 

^ fe q dtt^Mg^jjj!jj.r] i !-^ 

Aimlysis. — Except for two larger intervals, this melody progresses entirely 
by minor thirds and whole tones. The measure lengths change frequently and 
the trend of the song is steadily downward. Attention is directed to the third 
occurrence of the rhythmic unit in which the third count is divided differ- 
ently than in the first occurrence, giving variety to the rhythm, yet continuing 
the principal accents. The song contains all the tones of the octave except 
the fifth and is melodic in structure. 



No. 56. Social Song (b) 

Recorded by Bob Geokge 

(Catalog No. 1675) 

I'^^hi rrj ^i i ^lTw \ c : ^^2mdr^^ , nrp^ \ 

Analysis. — Several renditions of this song were recorded and show no differ- 
ences. The melody is characterized by a variety of ascending intervals, four 



[Boll. 136 

sorts of upward progressions occurring, while the descending intervals consist 
of minor thirds and whole tones. It is a pleasing melody, major in tonality 
and containing all the tones of the octave except the seventh. 

The next two songs are very old, the singer having learned them 
from his father. 

No. 57. Social Song (c) 
Recorded by Bob Geoege 

(Catalog No. 1676) 

J = 


l^^% ^J^ iM t ^f^:.yd% JJj^ ^^ 

Fi ne 

Analysis. — Attention is directed to the count divisions in the second measure 
of this song, which occur with a different accent in the fifth and sixth measures. 
The song has no rhythmic unit and it appears there is no rest in the melody 
as the singer introduced an eighth rest at a different point in each rendition, 
the pause being apparently for taking breath. Many bytones were introduced 
but cannot be shown in notation. 

No. 58. Social Song (d) 

Recorded by Bon Geobge 

(Catalog No. 1677) 

ii^rrrr n.r rrnr p.n^rrrr 

f ^vrfi^^ifftiff Oii!ij.7ejjjii!i|.jLi i i 

Analysis.— This song is classified in the key of D major although the keynote 
occurs only in the second and fifth measures from the close. The tone C sharp 
is the most prominent tone in the opening measures and is the highest tone of 
the compass. The latter portion of the song is characterized by an unbroken 
descent in each phrase. The melody has a compass of 10 tones and contains 
all the tones of the octave except the fourth. 


The phiying of the slahal game is common to many tribes in the 
Northwest. The game among the Thompson River Indians is de- 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — D'ENSMORB 65 

scribed by James Teit, who states that it is known to the whites 
as "lehal." This authority states further, that — 

Many Spences Bridge women used to play it, and had a different song for it 
from that of the men. Lower Thompson women seldom or never played this 
game. [Teit, 1900, p. 275.] 

The implements of the slahal game are two bones, differently 
marked, and the action consists in hiding the bones in a player's 
hands, the opponents guessing their position. In a small game only 
one pair of bones is used, but at Chilliwack, in the game witnessed 
by the writer, two pairs of bones were used, each being hidden by 
one man. These bones are highly valued by their owners, but one 
man consented to lend a pair to be photographed (pi. 7, fig. 2). 

Age and long use have yellowed and polished these bones, which 
were made from a bone of the hind leg of an ox, the ends tipped 
with brass. One bone is decorated with a band midway its length 
and was called the male, while the other, with decorations near the 
end, was called the female. 

The game is played outdoors and the number of players is accord- 
ing to the available space, an average number being 34. The players 
are divided into two "sides," and kneel on the ground in two lines, 
facing each other. A heavy plank is in front of each line of players, 
slightly elevated above the ground to give resonance as they pound 
upon it with short sticks. When two sets of bones are to be used, a 
man in the middle of each line acts as leader of his side and desig- 
nates a man toward his right and another toward his left to hide 
the bones while the opponents guess their location. After a certain 
score has been made, the playing changes sides and those who were 
guessing take their turn at hiding the bones. On being requested 
by the leader, each man takes a pair of bones and puts his hands 
under a coat that lies across his knees while he arranges the bones 
to his satisfaction, concealing one in each hand. The two men 
then raise their hands in the air and move them rhythmically to and 
fro with many gestures, according to individual fancy. Their 
companions sing and a majority pound on the plank but, in the 
game at Chilliwack, two or three at the end of the line pounded on 
drums (pi. 8). In these games the guessing was done by the oppos- 
ing leader, seated in the middle of the line, others guessing only by 
his permission. It was said that the expression of the face, which, 
in some games, may betray the location of a hidden article, did not 
form a factor in slahal, but that the guessing "depends on the good 
judgment of the guesser," According to this informant, the rela- 
tive location of the bones "will go all one way for a while," and skill 
depends largely on a study of averages and probabilities, making 
success a matter of study rather than skill. 



[BDLL. 136 

The guesses are indicated by signals given -with the thumb and 
forefinger of the right hand, each signal indicating the location of 
both bones in the hands of both players. Only four combinations 
are possible, these being (1) with the unhanded bones in the hands 
nearest each other, (2) with the unhanded bones in the hands farthest 
apart, (3) with the unhanded bones toward the guesser's left hand, 
and (4) toward his right. If the guesser decides upon the first com- 
bination, he points toward the ground; for the second combination, 
he indicates his guess by a spread of thumb and forefinger; and for 
the third and fourth, he points to the hand of either player which, in 
his opinion, contains the bone without a band. Figure 2 shows tliree 
of the possible combinations. 

Figure 2. — Sketch showing locations of bones in slahal game. 

A slahal game was played every Sunday afternoon at Chilliwack, 
extending far into the evening, a huge bonfire giving sufficient light. 
Occasionally the game was played in the evening during the week. 
The firelight on the rows of swaying, singing men was picturesque, 
and, during a portion of the period, the moon was full, shining on 
the snow on the mountain tops and the square lines of the camp 
buildings, making a background for the scene. A hundred or more 
men and women stood behind the players or were grouped in the 

The games at Chilliwack were for pleasure, though there was some 
betting. Their purpose was "to make the old people happy," and 
men who were known to be poor players were allowed to hide the bones 

Anthbop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMORB 


if they wished to do so. Good feeling prevailed, as people from 
widely separated localities joined the game, which they were accus- 
tomed to play at home. 

The traditional origin of the slahal game was related by Jinmiie 
O'Hammon, chief of a band of Squamish Indians living on the 
Squamish River. He is known as "Chief Jimmie Jimmie" and his 
group is known as O'Hammon's Band (cf. p. 86). He said that slahal 
was played before the flood, when all the people spoke the same 
language. Only one bone was used at that time and the players 
"hugged themselves with their arms" when playing. After the flood, 
there still were people who played the game, but many languages were 
spoken and the people were "all split up." When Christ came and 
changed the people into animals, there were some who were not 
changed, and they preserved the game, so it has come down to the 
present day. An old song "about Christ changing some of the people 
into animals" was recorded, but not transcribed. 

The following song is very old and is concerning a man who dreamed 
about the slahal bones. The words of the song were said to be about 
his dream, but they have been forgotten. The dream may have been 
concerning the origin of the game, or it may have been a dream in 
which a man was told how he might become a successful player. In 
the latter case, the song would be sung by his companions when he 
was hiding the bones. (Cf. Densmore, 1913, pp. 210, 212.) The 
phonograph record contains the "squeals" of the women as in the 
next song. 

No. 59. Slahal Game Song (a) 
Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 

(Catalog No. 2028) 

Voice J: 84 
Drum Jc84 
See drum rhythm below 

..^u iju..-r' ff .'f^V^ff' -t-' m ^fTm^m^ -rr-r-f-m-^ 

S^^i=: = = = ^&t = = - = ^Lir^ 

Drum rhythm 

mm m 

Analysis. — A peculiarity of this song is the meter of the drum, three even 
beats of which are equal to one count of the melody. This occurs in no other 



[BULL. 136 

song recorded at Chilliwack. The rhythm of voice and drum were steadily 
maintained in all the renditions. The melodic progressions are all major sec- 
onds except the two minor thirds at the close of the song. In rhythmic structure, 
the song consists of five periods, each containing two measures. The ascent 
to the closing tone carries the melody forward to its repetitions. 

Concerning the next song, the singer said it was used "before Christ 
changed some of the people into animals." He said his stepfather 
sang it to him when he was a child. There are sounds on the phono- 
graph record that were said to be "the squeals of the women when a 
score stick was thrown." It is not unusual for Indians to record the 
sounds that are incident to the singing of a song, when they record 
the melody. 

No. 60. Slahal Game Song (b) 

(Catalog No. 2023) 
Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 

Voice J r 126 
Drum J zl26 
Drum_rhythm similar to No. 11 

-^)^L li r * 1^ y 1 — ^' r y ■-* ^ ff y l-fa; — ^-^- — " ^ y 

^£_^^^_UJ — [y 7 1 U.^ — lUl — L^ — [L-Lpf^ — EL_/__ii-J — y 7 

^^s ^f^fpy i CjBtrgv i ^-^v i Crp.v i Crp^ 

I r 

£a?y|Lrp viCj"i7y|i:TF5 


m u f^TTB^TlCfMt^^^ -N^^ 


Analysis.— Only a portion of this performance is transcribed, the remainder 
consisting of similar phrases. In this somewhat monotonous melody there is 
a distinct rhythmic unit. The second measure of this unit is slightly varied 
in its repetitions. Each measure began with a strongly accented tone ; this 
exclamatory manner of singing gambling songs has been noted in several other 
tribes. (Cf. Densmore, 1922, Songs Nos. 96 and 98.) 

(Catalog No. 2052) 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. DENSMOEE 69 

No. 61. Slahal Game Song (c) 

Recorded by Ottee Biulee 

Voice J = 56 
Drum J r 56 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 1 


^ ^hi\hf^-^^ 

Analysis. — This song is characterized by a slow tempo and rapid drum. The 
singer's voice is low in range and the song begins and ends on tlie keynote, which 
is the lowest tone of its compass. The ascending and descending intervals are 
the same in both number and size, each group consisting of two minor thirds 
and three major seconds. No change of measure length occurs in the melody, 
this peculiarity, together with the prominence of the keynote, giving a steadi- 
ness to the song which would assist its use with the game. 

No. 62. Slakal Game Song (d) 
Recorded by Otter Billie 

(Catalog No. 2053) 

Voice J ; 56 
Drum J r 516 
Drum rhythm similar to No.l 




i_|g' J 





O 1 

j^ 1* P JB 55- 

1 1 

~m — — «:— = BT-^ 

■^ 1? 41 





E«! — i^y — ^-^ 


Analysis. — While the tempo and rhythmic unit in this are the same as in the 
song next preceding, the characteristics of the melody are entirely different. 
This song is major instead of minor in tonality, has a much larger compass than 
the preceding, and contains lyric passages. The measure in triple time near the 
close of the song is particularly vigorous and, with the preceding tone, represents 
an ascent of an octave within three counts. In some renditions, a sixteenth note 
on E takes the place of the first rest in the third and seventh measures, giving the 
melody a smoothly flowing quality. 



[BULL. 136 

No. 63. Slahal Game Song (e) 

Recorded by Ottee Bitxtb 

Voice J 
Drum J 

r 96 
r 96 

(Catalog No. 2054) 

Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

(1) (2) (II 

n 1 ^n r^ 

■^ r 



.-^^jjj^c/Pvirvic.ny.yirv i fi'Pvirvi^ 

(1) (1) (1) (1) (1) 

(1) (1) (1) (1) (1) 

1 ^ r >i 1 >i r" ^ I 

Free translation. — When I took the bones, I beat. 

Analysis. — The chief peculiarity of this song is the two-measure phrase which 
ends on an accented tone and is followed by a short rest. Such phrases con- 
stitute the entire melody. The ascending and descending intervals are equal 
in number and size, each comprising 5 minor thirds and 20 whole tones. The 
jerky, emphatic rhythm is characteristic of songs which were heard during 
the playing of this game. The words refer to the game implements, which, as 
stated, are short bones, concealed in the player's hands. 

No. 64. Slahal Game Song (f) 
Recorded by Henbt McCabtht 

(Catalog No. 2057) 

f0 ■ »■ -^ — : — 

fy^iiiu' (T p ^i^jj T p -yir ri/P Pi 

\'^HlS^p Pt' I lj it pylc^p^pMI 

Analysis. — This song is peculiar in that the third above the keynote occurs 
only as the highest tone, this occurrence being in the third measure. The 
most prominent tone is E, the tone above the keynote, this being the accented 
tone in 7 of the 10 measures. The fourth is a prominent interval, 2 descending 
fourths carrying the melody downward in the third and fourth measures. The 
rhythm is more broken than in the preceding slahal game songs, with more 
frequent rests and no decided accents. 



The singer of the next song is from the Sliamon Reserve on Powell 

No. 65. Slahal Game Song (g) 

(Catalog No. 1671) 
Recorded by Bob Ge»bge 

J r 69 --.. -^ 

.n\i f^ir xxfir nffl'ir ^m' c ^u ^ 

MhJ !T] \ }i 

3 j^ J I r^*0<Q4w 



-J ^ThfjM- J J 1 1 ^ al ^ J - J H^ - iJifc ^^ 


p «'a*ig 

ctJ' l r'7m'[£fl-'-'pM^7^ 



jIljj.'-JJJJ i J { |«QiJJ^|J. ilj ^ 

Ajialysis. — This interesting melody contains the tones of the second (minor) 
5-toned scale.* The intonation was excellent, and drum and voice coincided 
throughout the performance. Like many other songs recorded from this lo- 
cality, the melody moves freely, having a large number of progressions and 
being lyric in character. This may be due to the influence of the Roman 
Catholic Church with its tuneful melodies, although missions of this Church have 
been present in tribes which did not have these fluent melodies. It is interesting 
to note that the songs here presented are the first songs recorded by Indians who 
live beside large rivers. 

The next song was sung after a slahal game, but could be sung at 
any time. 

' The 5-toned scales considered in these analyses are the five pentatouic scales according 
to Helmholtz (1885, p. 269), described by him as follows: 

"1. The First Scale, without Third or Seventh (sequence of tones G, A, C, D, E). 
"2. The Second Scale, without Second or Sixth (sequence of tones A, C, D, E, G) . 
"3. The Third Scale, without Third and Sixth (sequence of tones D, E, G, A, C). 
"4. The Fourth Scale, without Fourth or Seventh (sequence of tones C, D, E, G, A). 
"5. The Fifth Scale, without Second and Fifth (sequences of tones E, G, A, C, D)." 
See also Densmore, 1918, p. 7. 



[BOLL. 136 

No. 66. Song of Pleasure 
Recorded by Tasalt 

(Catalog No. 2038) 


= 66 

^yir n^^tHt^pvi l jr-A^ 


si • a3W ' m 


^\ d \ ai .mia iV <H-7s 


Analysis. — The melodic plan of this song is simple. It begins on the 
octave, ends on the keynote, and gives prominence to the third and fifth above 
the keynote. It is, however, classified as melodic with harmonic framework 
because of the accented F in the third measure. A dotted eighth followed by a 
sixteenth note is a frequent count division but the song contains no phrase 
which can be designated as a rhythmic unit. The descending fourth is a 
particularly prominent interval and gives liveliness to the melody. The tone 
material is the fourth (major) 5-toned scale and the trend of the melody is 
steadily downward. 


Two gambling songs composed by Indians living on the Thompson 
River were recorded, though the game with which they were used 
was not designated. The singer of the next song lives at Boothroyd, 
a town on the Eraser River, and recorded only this song and one 
other (p. 94). 

No. 67. Gambling Song (a) 

(Catalog No. 2058) 
Recorded by Annie Bolem 


Analysis. — The uncertainty of intonation by this singer made the song 
difficult to transcribe until a delicate adjustment of the speed of the phonograph 
gave the present alinement of intervals. An effort was made to preserve the 
song because it is a valuable example of interrupted rhythm. The purpose of the 
song was to baffle and confuse the opponents, for which the rhythm is admirably 
adapted. The only tones are the keynote and its second, third, and fourth. 
Whole tones comprise 14 of the 18 progressions. 

Anthbop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DEflSTSMOiREi 73 

No. 68. Gambling Song (b) 

(Catalog No. 2063) 
Recorded by JtnLiA Chaelie 


^ J=96 I 





Analysis. — ^This melody progresses with unusual freedom and alternation of 
ascent and descent. The characteristic progression is a descending whole tone 
which comprises more than half the intervals. Rests occur frequently in the 
song, dividing it into short phrases, yet the rhythmic unit comprises five meas- 
ures. The song contains no change of measure length. A slight change of 
rhythm occurs in the third period, a peculiarity frequently noted in Indian songs. 


Among the most characteristic songs recorded at Chilliwack are 
those that were sung when paddling the canoes. It was said that 10 
or 15 persons often went in a canoe and that everyone sang. The 
words of the first song were said to be "Roman Catholic," and the 
songs were sung "when taking the priest from place to place." 

In these charming songs we feel the rhythm of the canoe moving 
through deep but quiet waters. Around is the magnificence of the 
mountains and we seem to see the wonderful lights and shadows of 
the far north. The songs are happy and .^.uggest safety. These In- 
dians living on Powell River did not encounter the storms that beat 
upon the land of the Clayoquot, on the west coast of Vancouver 
Island. The river was a highway and they sang as they paddled their 
canoes from one villase to another. 


No. 69. Canoe Song (a) 

Recorded by Bob Geobge 
.^ (i) (2) 

(Catalog No. 1665) 


fi i fr^jir v S 


^W (1) ^^ r 

-nf^r r.r_r i r; r rtM^ rj 'j^ir;[j[rvFrii 

435660 — 13- 



[Bull. 136 

Analysis. — The peculiar rhythmic effect of this song is partially due to the 
continuous double time, the character of the two rhythmic units, and the decided 
accents on the first of the measures in which the units do not occur. The units 
are alilie except that in one the complete measure is preceded by a tone and in 
the other is followed by a tone, thus giving a swaying effect. The thirty-second 
rests were followed by an unaccented tone too short for transcription, on which 
the syllable ki was sung, the syllable a following on the accented tone. This 
melody is harmonic in structure and the tempo is slow. It was sung with a 
sustained tone and good intonation. Two renditions were recorded, each being 
once repeated. 

No. 70. Canoe Song (b) 
Recorded by Bob Geoege 



1 T 


(Catalog No. 1666) 

W jljt j-fL 

^l } y P l ^ 


(3) (1) 

n . I \ 


^-^^— ^ — :=3 i;r -T "^ — ^-7^ — 


n r 

1 r 






1 T 



T \ r rpijjrM 





Analysis. — Tlus, like the song next preceding, is without change of measure 
lengths. The only tones are F, G, and A, and the song swings back and forth 
within the compass of a major third, suggesting the motion of paddling a canoe. 
In rhythmic form, it is simpler than the preceding song and contains two 
rhythmic units, differing only on the final tones. 

An Indian named Johnson, from Port Simpson, also recorded a 
canoe song. He said that each chief has his own canoe song and the 
people can tell who is coming by the song that is being sung. Ten 
or twelve men are in a canoe and they keep time to the song with 
their paddles. One man who knows the song is appointed to start 
it, and he repeats the words before they begin to sing. The man 
who steers the canoe gives the signal for the men to begin to paddle 
by saying, "Who-oo," with a prolonged tone. 271 MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DflENSMORE- 


No. 71. Canoe Song (c) 

Recorded by Johnson 

(Catalog No. 1682) 


'>'r:irp\r^nf ri' \\ '!'r[ j\i'H^ri^ ^ 


tjT^ rTr -'-f\r cnr icj 







Free translation. — (First rendition.) There Is rock where tbey are hammering a copper 
hiatsk. (Second rendition.) Nobody invited me. I am in a foggy place (confused and 
do not know where to go). 

Analysis. — ^The structure of this melody resembles those recorded at Neah 
Bay and is different from other songs in this group and from songs of the 
Indians living at Powell River. It has a compass of four tones, comprising a 
keynote with the tone below and two tones above it. The tone E, regarded 
as the keynote, occurs in more than half the measures and is usually on an 
accented count. Ascending and descending intervals are about equal in number 
and the song contains only one interval (a minor third) that is larger than a 
whole tone. 


Henry Haldane (pi. 9, fig. 1), who related the first of these stories, 
lives at Port Simpson. He said that his grandfather's generation 
lived at Kitknont and his father's at Katsala. He prefaced the story 
with the statement that thousands of years ago, when the flood came, 
his ancestors got into their canoe and drifted until the waters sub- 
sided; then they found themselves on Queen Charlotte's Islands. 
They camped near Skiddegate, on a place that now belongs to the 
Haida. They knew they were far from their former home, and so 
decided to stay there. They married the Haida and the party 
increased in numbers. 

At one time a young boy of his father's people went trout fishing 
in a creek. They went up a creek and all fished. The boy was the 
chief's son. All the others in the party caught plenty of fish, but he 
could not get any, so he went down to the camp and cooked their 
trout. The boy sat down with the others and they gave him a trout 
on a plate. A frog jumped on the trout and the boy threw the frog 
away. As he was about to eat his trout, the frog jumped back again 
on his plate and, in anger, he threw the frog into the fire. He went 
to bed, and early next morning they started for home. While he was 



[BDLL. 136 

pulling hard at his oar, he heard a woman on the shore call, "Hey, 
take me in. I want to go with you." He looked and saw an old 
woman with a stick. 

The boy said to his companions, "No, pull ahead." The old woman 
followed along the shore^ but the boys would not take her in. Then 
she said, "See here, boys. When you get around that point, one of 
you will die in the canoe. So on, one after another will die until 
only one will get home. He will tell the tale and then die." It was 
said, "The old woman was a frog, and it was her daughter who came 
to the young man and wanted to marry him." * 

When they passed the point indicated by the old woman, one of 
the young men died. This continued as the old woman had pre- 
dicted, until only one reached home. He was the 3^oung man on 
whose plate the frog had jumped. He told the story and then drop- 
ped dead. The next day the people heard a woman coming down 
from the mountains. There was a lake behind the village. She 
sang and everybody went out to see her, and she cried. Then a fire 
came down from heaven and burned all those people. Mr. Haldane 
said, "That was why my father's people made this song for the 
children. When the old people were feeling good with liquor, my 
father took me on his lap and sang this kind of song for me." 

No. 72. Song With Story of the Frog Woman 

(Catalog No. 1681) 
Recorded by Henry Haujane 


n^yi r-p c riEfflffrr^if rTii i fe tg^ 

Free translation. — My brother killed a frog and thereafter the whole village burned to death. 
We came from the Haida. We all beloHg to the Haida, therefore my name is Chief Kala 
(name of singer's father). 

Analysis. — This is a particularly fluent melody lying partly above and partly 
below the keynote. It is minor in tonality and progresses by minor thirds 
and major seconds, except for two major thirds and one fourth. The whole 
tone between the seventh and keynote is interesting, since many songs of minor 
tonality give little prominence to the seventh. 

An old story was said to be "put into" the following song. A 
widow has gone crazy and she tries to sing. In the song she says, 
"I don't know where I am going. I am dressed up, but I take off 
my fine things and give them to poor orphan girls. You will see 

* This sentence does not pertain to the story as related. 



these girls dressed up. You must take a nice feather and wrap it 
around me because the fish took me thousands and thousands of 
years ago. I don't know where I am going." It is probable this 
is contained in the words of the song. The singer is from the 
Skeena River region. 

No. 73. "Wrap a Feather Around Me" 

(Catalogue No. 1686) 

Recorded by Jane Green 

Analjisis. — The sequence of tones occurring most frequently in this song is 
the descending sequence B-C sharp-B-G sharp, forming a minor sixth. 
This occurs 5 times and the rhythm of the phrase is different in every 
occurrence. A triplet of eighth notes occurs in each rhythmic unit, appearing 
in the middle of one and at the beginning of the other unit. This highly com- 
plex rhythm is a fitting expression of the fragmentary ideas that underlie the 
song. The succession of B, B sharp, and C sharp was sung glissando. Such a 
sliding of the voice usually occurs in descending progression. The song con- 
tains 70 intervals, 34 of vphich are minor thirds and whole tones. An 
ascending minor sixth occurs 3 times, which is an unusually large proportion 
of this interval. 

The story of the man who dragged his body on the rocks in order to 
become a successful whaler was obtained among the Makah and holds 
an important place in the legends of the northwest coast (Densmore, 
1939, p. 57). The singer, a member of the Nitinat tribe, said this was 
her father's song, and was sung by the Nitinat when towing a dead 



[Bull. 136 

No. 74. "I Will Scrape My Body on the Rocks* 

(Catalog No. 1709) 

Recorded by Annie Tom 

^ = 80 ^ . 


■yBi. r/Pv r I r ,. m^m^^j^rxt-^ ^ 

^^M^vrirn.prif i i r^rn^rf^^f-ff^ 

Free translation. — I will scrape my body on the rocks because I want to get a whale. 

Analysis. — This peculiar melody lies chiefly within a compass of a minor third. 
It contains no rhythmic imit, but each phrase contains an ascending followed 
by a descending trend. The progressions are unusual and comprise 4 fourths, 
2 minor thirds, 12 whole tones, and 10 semitones. The transcription is from the 
first rendition, the intonation on C natural being less clear in the later renditions. 

The following story was told to little children : One day a chief was 
walking on the beach with his little boy. They saw a big whale which 
had been killed and was lying on the sand. The chief made a hole 
through the tail, and said, "Little boy, you had better jump through 
that hole." The song was sung in connection with the story, but the 
exact connection was not explained. 

(Catalog No. 2061) 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOEE 79 

No. 75. The Little Boy and the Whale 

Recorded by Jake Geoege 
Voice J ;; 88 
Drum J r 88 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

A^'kncTirrrm ^r r ir rrrcrft^ ^ 

■•nu rr^ri i ^rr;ir i r> i i-rnrr i >^rrerrF:/p 

^fc. » I* 1 r I**!- P'yifi If^j^i^a^lii^PIP 

' hrnu 


rrrr mti 


^%^fl^B^Pi?? fF^^ 

nxrr tmmrtfTi t ^^ 

.^>b ficf^^irrir iB^ffirrrpTiiif^ ^ ^^^ 



Analysis. — This is a pleasing melody consisting of the tones F, G, and A, with 
one occurrence of B natural. The tone F is clearly the fundamental and the 
signature of the transcription is that of the key of F major. This signature is 
only for convenience of observation, the tone material being that of the key of C. 
In this instance the notation shows, in the simplest possible manner, the pitch 
and aflSliation of the tones sung by the Indian, but does not carry the full sig- 
nificance in musical usage. Attention is directed to the ascending sequence of 
three whole tones, occurring about midway through the melody. Such a sequence 
is rare in recorded Indian songs. The progressions comprise 36 whole tones 
in ascending and the same nimaber in descending order. 

Among the Nitinat, as among the Makah and Clayoquot, the old 
women have a pleasant custom of going to a house and singing in honor 
of infants or little children, their songs being rewarded with food or 
gifts (Densmore, 1939, p. 215) . Such songs usually represent the child 
as engaged in the actitivies of an adult, or praise its appearance. 


No. 76. Song to a Little Girl 

Recorded by Annie Tom 

[Bdlu 136 

(Catalog No. 1714) 

Voice J : 88 
Drum J r 88 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

?»%^+^--%^-t£|f T i trcr i itfrrT% i 

nk 1 '^^^^ ^ 11 ■{ ^^wi C/? I I j? r ^A 

'rhf^ tfcT i f \TTm frr ir ?r i r r mi m r rii 

Free translation. — Dear little girl, did you have a small face? 

Analysis. — The framework of the first and second phrases in this song is a 
minor triad and minor seventh, and the trend of each phrase is upward, then 
downward. The principal interval is a whole tone. Five renditions were recorded, 
and in each rendition a descending glissando occurred near ihe close of the song, 
while the descending fourth, which constitutes the final interval, was sung without 
a glissando. 

A song to put a child to sleep was recorded by a woman from Church 
House, on the Homalko Reserve. The words consisted of the admoni- 
tion, "Go to sleep, go to sleep." 

No. 77. Lullaby 

Recorded by Sophie Wilson 

(Catalog No. 1680) 


i AM>,vrr i f|f|fr i rH ri i }ifWn i fr 

.^,i,>,.i r cnfi^fir ) i i^rEEeeTM:^ 



Analysis. — This melody consists of glissaudo ptirases alternating with rapidly 
enunciated tones. It is impossible to indicate the progress of the glissando by 
ordinary notation, but the pitch of the highest and lowest tones were clearly sung. 
The tempo was maintained throughout several renditions. 


Dennis Peters, who lives on the Fraser River, recorded two songs 
of this class, both expressing the gentle loneliness which characterizes 
many Indian love songs. The first of the group was said to be the 
song of a woman who was separated from her husband and "made up 
a sons: about him." 

No. 78. "I Wish I were a Cloud' 

Recorded by Dennis Petebs 

(Catalog No. 2044) 

1*^ rfrp»P ii irpcrer [- j.|pv p i JH i ir[ ^ ^ 

Free translation. — I wish I were a cloud so I could stay always in the air and see my 

husband all the time. 

Analysis. — A peculiarity of this song is the prominence of D, the tone above 
the keynote. An appealing quality is given by the ascending glissando in the 
first measure and by the five ascending fourths, while the drooping trend of the 
last seven measures suggests the depression implied in the words. 

A different type of melody is presented in the next song, the words 
of which are summarized in the title. 

No. 79. "All My Sweethearts Are Gone Except One" 

(Catalog No. 2045) 
Recorded by Dennis Peiees 

Voice J = 69 




Analysts. — This pleasing melody has a compass of 11 tones, lying partly above 
and partly below the keynote. The tone material is that of the fourth 5-toned 



[BULL. 136 

scale. The song consists of three periods, the first and third being designated 
as the rhythmic unit while the second differs slightly in rhythm. A resemblance 
to the song next preceding is seen in the frequency of ascending fourths and 

A woman from the Skeena River country recorded the following 

No. 80. "I Am Going to Stay at Home" 

(Catalog No. 1687) 
Recorded by Jane Gbeen 

Free translation. — I was of two minds about going with you and now I have made up my 
mind to stay at home. I heard what you are doing, that is why I am going to stay at 

Analysis. — This song is unusual in the number and variety of its progressions. 
The song contains 15 measures and 3 times descends an octave within 3 measures. 
Eleven sorts of intervals occur, 6 being in ascending and 5 in descending 
progression. The song is major in tonality and contains all the tones of the 
octave except the seventh. The rhythmic unit is simple and is preceded and 
followed by various rhythms which are not repeated. This is interesting in 
view of the words. The melody was not accurately repeated but the essential 
rhythms appear in all the renditions. 

A love song recorded by Henry Haldane of Port Simpson was 
not transcribed. The rendition was preceded by the words, "I am 
going to sing a Haida love song," these words being recorded by the 
phonograph. The first verse was in the Indian language, and the 
words were translated, "O, my heart is broken because I did not see 
my girl, so I always cry." The second verse was in Chinook, and 
was translated, "Show me your kindness. Give me a drink and I 
will do the same for you in return." The singer said, "the Hudson's 
Bay people came among these Indians in 1862 and brought the 
Chinook." This suggests that the Chinook words may have been 
added to an older, native song. 

The two songs next following are from the Nass River region. 


No. 81. "She Is Glad to See Him" 

Recorded by Elt^n Stevens 


(Catalog No. 1688) 


^\y^ I IP I n.7n ^ p 


rn'm^ ^ '^m^ 

Free translation. — She has been trying to see her sweetheart for a long time and is glad to 

see him. 

Analysis. — Two renditions of tliis song were transcribed, the first rendition 
being here presented. The tone material is the same in the two renditions, but 
the first has the larger compass, using C in the upper as well as the lower 
octave. Successive renditions showed similar unimportant differences. Shrill 
cries were interpolated at the close of the ninth measure. The intervals are 
larger than in a majority of the British Columbian songs. 

No. 82. "Give Me a Bottle of Rum" 

Recorded by Ellen Stevens 

J : 104 


(Catalog No. 1689) 


^ ^^-:M41; Hj2j \^ ^\ J = ^ \\i J Tj3 :, S J 


I I — 







f4— g ^ 

U I I I 


id ** « [ 



y^yj^ i j j-jii-iiijj.ji^ i ^ 

Free translation. — When she got a sweetheart he offered her a drink and she said she wanted 
rum. U you want to'glve me a drink, give me a bottle of rum. 



[BULL. 136 

Analysis. — The fourth is a rather frequent interval in this melody, the other 
progressions being minor thirds and whole tones. The song is minor in tonality, 
harmonic in structure and contains all the tones of the octave. Two rhythmic 
units occur, separated by slightly different rhythms in their two occurrences. 
Beginning with the eighth measure from the close we find a phrase which 
suggests the first rhythmic unit. 


Two songs connected with an old custom of divorce were recorded 
by Jane Green from Skeena River, If a woman quarreled with her 
husband and was sent away, she gave a dance in about 3 days and 
her husband gave a similar dance 3 days after hers. Both spent 
much money on these dances and gave many presents. At the woman's 
dance about seven women stood in a row, about two arms' lengths 
apart, and moved their heads as they danced, while the woman who 
had been sent away by her husband stood still in the middle of the 
row. The people clapped their hands as they sang the following 
song. In explanation of the last portion of the words, it was said, 
"We have a story that if I travel and get lost somebody will touch 
me when I am almost dead and little mice will take me to a house 
and I will put some wool in the fire, and a little old woman will 
scrape lots of it under her blanket." 


No. 83. Divorce Dance Song (a) 
Recorded by Jane Green 

(Catalog No. 1684) 

Free translation. — In a little while. I guess you love me now. I guess you admire me 
now. You tiirew me away like sometliing that tasted bad. You treat me as if I were a 
rotten fish. My old grandmother is going to take her own dry blackberries and put them 
under her blanket. 

Analysis. — Certain resemblances occur between this and the song next follow- 
ing which is also a divorce song. Both songs begin in double time, have a compass 
of about an octave, and end on the keynote, which is the lowest tone of the 
compass. This song is in the key of B major, is based on the major triad and 
sixth, and contains only one interval larger than a minor third. The ascent 
to accented tones, occuring frequently in the first portion, gives a plaintive effect 
while the trend of the latter portion is steadily downward, the repeated tones 
at the close seeming to express a finality in the singer's mind. 

The next song was also sung at a woman's divorce dance. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DCENSMORE 


No. 84. Divorce Dance Song (b) 
Recorded by Jane Gkeen 

(Catalog No. 1685) 

4 ihi. n 



1 — 1 



#i\ r g ^-^ 



— •- 

— — « 



— n~ 

UL^ \L-\ ^ 1 

1 — = — ^ 

— ii 



d : 60 


Free translation. — I thought you were good at first. I thought you were like silver and 
I find you are lead. You see me high up. I walk through the .sun. I am like the sun- 
light myself. 

Analysis. — The change from major to minor tonality occurs in all the ren- 
ditions of this song, the keynote remaining the same, hut the third and sixth 
being lowered a semitone. The intervals are more varied than in the song next 
preceding and comprise two semitones and five intervals larger than a minor 
third. Without these intervals the melody would be monotonous, as the remain- 
ing intervals consist of minor thirds and whole tones, about equal in ascending 
and descending order. The first portion of the song is rather lively and is 
based on the interval of a fourth, but with the change to minor tonality the 
fourth is replaced by minor thirds. The final measures are slower in tempo 
and contain a rather sad but coherent phrase. 


The singer said she had heard the old people sing the following song. 
In explanation she said her people believe that the spirits of the dead 
make known their presence in a room by a slight explosive noise in 
the fire.^ She said, "If you hear ^ping'' in the fire it is some dead 
person speaking. When he comes into the room he causes a thought 
of him to come into the minds of the people in the room, then he 
speaks through the fire." Continuing her narrative, she said that 
a spirit who does not want to speak through the fire makes known 
his presence in the woods by making a tree fall when there is no wind. 
"If a person is walking in the woods and sees a tree fall when there is 
no wind he will say 'Now you chopped down the big rotten tree.' " 

•Cf. story of The Girl who Married the Fire Soirit fSwanton. 1909. on. 239X240). 


= 104 


No. 85. Song to a Spirit in the Fire 
Recorded by Jane Geeen 

(1) (1> (1) 

T I 1 I — 

[BULL. 136 

(Catalog No. 1683) 

\ m ij l j j jIJ. Ji|j.i l J.J'll-l nrjWtj ^i 



T I 

r*i jji3 ll 3jljMjj:^L^_|^llii_|_[_| 

(2) (3) ^^ 

T r 



(3) ^ 




/'ree translation. — Who is dead that you feel so badly? I am very ashamed of you, still 
you are speaking after you are dead. You speak through the fire. I am not going to 
do that myself if I am dead. I am going to take an ax and chop down a tree. 

Analysis. — This is a cheerful melody based on the fourth 5-toned scale. The 
fourth is a frequent interval, and the minor thirds and whole tones are equal 
in number. The song contains three phrases which are indicated as rhythmic 
units. A frequent change of measure lengths also gives variety to the rhythm. 

The man who recorded the next song is chief of the O'Hammon 
Band of Indians living on the Squamish River. His name is the 
same as that of the band of Indians and was given as O'Hammon, 
O'Hammond, and O'Hammel, the first form being given on the best 
authority and used in the present paper. He is commonly called 
"Chief Jimmie Jimmie." The next song is concerning an Indian 
prophet named Skilmaha who lived in the vicinity of Hope about 
a century ago, "before the coming of the white man." This prophet 
foretold the coming of a different people and had many followers. 
It is probable that reference is made to Smoholla, the Dreamer of 
the Columbia River region, whose influence extended widely in Wash- 
ington and Oregon and undoubtedly spread toward the north 
(Mooney, 1896, pt. 2, pp. 731-745). Smoholla was born in 1815 
or 1820 (Mooney, 1896, pt. 2, p. 717) and the religion which he 
founded is described as "a system based on the primitive aboriginal 
mythology and usage, with an elaborate ritual which combined with 
the genuine Indian features much of what he had seen and remem- 
bered of Catholic ceremonial parade, with perhaps some additions 
from Mormon forms" (Mooney, 1896, pt. 2, p. 719). 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DENSMOEB 


No description of the teachings of Skilmaha was obtained, but it 
was said that he was subject to trances of a cataleptic nature. It 
appears that his power is challenged in the following song. The 
words show a knowledge of the Old Testament, contradicting the 
statement of the Indians that Skilmaha lived before the coming of 
the white man. 

J = 

No. 86. Song Concerning the Prophet Skilmaha 

(Catalog No. 2021) 
Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 


-^h i^^\ UTiUI^jm^^ i 


[;jir.7r i r.. r-p-^i t:, rT^ 

" » 1^ 

Free translation. — I would believe you if you would destroy us by fire. 

Analysis. — The tone material of this melody is the key of E major and the song 
ends on the tone above the keynote (cf. Nos. 87 and 97). Its repetitions difEer 
somewhat in note values, the song api)earing to have more than one set of 
words, which affects the duration of tones. One half the progressions are 
whole tones. 

The Indians of the Fraser River region terminate the period of 
mourning for the dead in a ceremonial manner. This custom was 
witnessed by the writer among the Chippewa and Menominee, and 
described among the Yuma and Cocopa Indians. (See Densmore, 
1913, pp. 153-162 ; 1932, pp. 163, 164; 1932 a, pp. 73-85.) The follow- 
ing song was used at such a ceremony in British Columbia and 
belonged to the brother of a man who was drowned. It was called 

"crying song." 


No. 87. Song with Termination of Mourning 

(Catalog No. 2027) 
Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 


Wi.!j i i:r r/ir tr^ ^ 



,'^b'u uiiam 




Free translation. — I will cry as I walk and look up at tbe sky. 


[BOLL. 136 

Analysis. — The tempo of this song is slow and it was sung with the wailing 
tone used by Indians in songs of sorrow. The tone material is that of a major 
scale, ending on the tone above the keynote (cf. Nos. 86 and 97). Except for 
one ascending fifth, the melody progresses by minor thirds and whole tones. 

The singer said that, when a child, he heard his father sing the 
next song. He said that "a man went to the salt water to hunt seal and 
he saw a seal swimming and heard it sing this song," This is the 
first song attributed to a seal which has been recorded by the writer, 
though special inquiry has been made for such songs. 

No. 88. Song of a Seal 

Recorded by Bob George 

(Catalog No. 1670) 

Analysis. — This song contains only the tones of the minor triad and seventh, 
the latter occurring only as next to the last tone. The transcription is from 
the first rendition, the subsequent renditions using the same tones and having 
the same general rhythm, but showing some difference in the order of the phrases. 
The song consists of two periods of five measures each. Rests occur in these 
periods, but the rhythmic feeling is carried forward to the end of the phrase. 

The preparations for hunting a shark were the same as for hunting 
whale. (For other songs of this class, see Densmore, 1939.) The 
weapon used was a spear with a long line, and 8 or 10 canoes joined 
in the hunt. The shark was killed for its oil, the fat being boiled 
to secure the oil, which was put in the skin of a seal as a container. 

No. 89. Song of a Shark Hunter 

Recorded by Wilson Williams 

(Catalog No. 2062) 

Voice J : 120 
Drum J r 120 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 11 

PiFrf^irpir ^P i r ir vi? 

^h\rn--^ irrmrp i rvrir-p i r-^P i f^^isfl 

Analysis. — The repetition of the phrases in this song is an example of varia- 
tion in renditions. The song was first sung as transcribed, then the last phrase 
was sung twice, the first phrase twice, the second phrase five times, and the first 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — D'ENSMO'RE 


phrase twice, the performance being concluded by the end of the phonogriiyh 
cylinder. Thus there appeared to be no definite number for tlie repetitiun.s of 
each phrase. A mannerism which cannot be transcribed coni^isted in the vise 
of a very short, unaccented tone before each accented tone. The song contains 
no change of measure length and its chief interest lies in its use and in its 
simple rhythm. 

The man who recorded the next song seems to have a remarkable 
fluency in expressing himself through music. He said that lie once 
shot and wounded a mountain goat and could not reach tlie animal, 
though he tried as hard as he could. That night he tliought of the 
suffering animal and made up this song in which he seems to feel its 
pain in his own body. 

No. 90. Song of a Hunter 

(Cuttilog No. 2030) 
Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 

Voice J : 126 
Drum J : 126 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 




n r 

T r 

^*>tt)^i^jf-f-f If' ^ Ir r riflr 


• » • <><) ^ ^-o- 

Free translation. — It hurts where he was shot. 

\Analysis. — This song is so short that the phonograph cylinder contains many 
repetitions, without intervening pauses. The rhythmic structure consists of 
five periods of equal length and the same rhythm, as though a single idea re- 
peated itself in the singer's mind. This is further suggested by the repeated 
notes with which each phrase begins. The song has a compass of nine tones 
and contains all the tones of the octave except the fourth. 

The rhythm and action of walking, as an inspiration to musical 
composition, has not previously been noted, but Jimmie O'Hammon 
said that songs came to him as he "was walking along." (Cf. Dens- 
more, 1939, p. 268.) The next song has no definite use but came to 
the singer as he walked and was happy. 



No. 91. Song of Happiness 

Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 

[Bull. 136 

(Catalog No. 2029) 

: 54 






Analysis. — This is a singularly calm and cheerful melody, with a strong Indi- 
viduality. Quadruple measures seldom occur in Indian songs, but there is no 
secondary accent in the measures thus transcribed in this melody. The tones 
are those of the fourth 5-toned scale and the song has a compass of 10 tones with 
a strongly descending trend. Except for 1 interval, the progressions are whole 
tones and minor thirds. 

Pleasant thoughts, as well as the motion of walking, inspired the 
next song, which is concerning a dream of going to Ottawa. 


No. 92. Dream of Going to Ottawa 

Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 

(Catalog No. 2025) 



-■^i-i'-'i - r.r|f iTrJ^ ^ ^^^^if^^-^^^^ 

^V' rrru^i i i^^%a^'^ i ^^ii'i^^Mf%i i 

•niirr rn riirri rrr icrr r i rncrcrir^^ ^ 

Analysis. — The first part of this song, containing the rhythmic unit, is in the 
upper part of the compass, while the second part, in the lower register, is more 
determined in rhythm but contains no rhythmic unit. The song has a compass 
of nine tones and is based on the fourth 5-toned scale. 

The singer of this and the song next following is Mrs. Sophie 
Wilson (pi. 9, fig. 2), who lives at Church House on the Homalco 
Keserve, north of Butte Inlet. She also recorded a lullaby (No. 77). 
This is said to be a very old song, the meaning of the words being 
indicated in the title. 



No. 93. "I Wish I Was in Butte Inlet" 

Recorded by Sophie Wilson 


r 76 



(Catalog No. 1678) 


^^ff i f i ffir iP^h^ 

1 1 — 




Analysis. — ^The prominence of ascending intervals, especially in the opening 
measures, seems to express a yearning, though it is not claimed that the Indian 
form of expression is similar to that of the white race. The song contains 
three sorts of ascending and only two sorts of descending intervals. The keynote 
(A flat) occurs only twice, and one of these occurrences is on the last count 
of a measure. Attention is directed to a comparison between the rhythmic units, 
a quarter note being unaccented in the first and accented in the second unit. 
There is an interesting determination in the rhythm of the closing measures. 

Many Indians living on the west coast of British Columbia are 
employed in the salmon canneries. It appears that the present singer 
has been a traveler, and it is probable that she has been thus employed. 
She has pleasant memories of several towns, and also mentions her 
home. Church House, among the "happy places." 

J = 

No. 94. Song of a Traveler 

Recorded by Sophie Wilson 

(Catalog No. 1679) 


^^,f !f'£f if T r r i i^ rj- rr- i Pg 

3^ b 


riji^pr py\ix^^\^'^ 


n p y^r p V 

9 — f^ 

Free translation. — Ridden Cannery is a happy place, they have electric lights ; Swell Cove 
is a happy place, and Tabishin and Church House. 

Analysis. — This song was recorded on two entire cylinders, the melody being 
the same throughout the performance. As first recorded, the melody was said 
to be a "wihsky song," the words here presented being sung with the second 
rendition. The song has a compass of 11 tones and is based on the first 5-toned 
scale in which the third and seventh above the keynote are absent. Thirty 
of the thirty-four intervals are whole tones and minor thirds. 



[Bull. 136 

The next was said to be a "general song" addressed by a man to 
his niece whose hair was long and handsome. This is the only song 
recorded by this singer. 

No. 95. "Your Pretty Hair" 

Kecorded by Julia Malwee 

(Catalog No. 2060) 





m I If 

Ij-J l' ^^ J. J 

Free translation. — There is nothing that I wish more than your pretty hair, my niece. 

Analysis. — The principal part of this melody Is on the upper tones of its 
compass, which is unusual. The descending trend is gradual and the lowest 
tone occurs only in the final measures. Except for one ascending fifth, the 
intervals are minor thirds and whole tones. The tone material is the fourth 
(major) 5- toned (Gaelic) scale and the melody, though strongly individual, 
suggests the influence of Scotch or Irish melodies. 

Next is presented the song of a woman "who longed for happiness, 
but could not be happy without whiskey." 

(Catalog No. 2043) 

Anthbop. Pap. NO. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DiENSMORE 93 

No. 96. A Woman's Song 

Recorded by Dennis Petebs 

Voice J : 60 
Drum J r 60 
Drum rhythm similar to No. 14 

-^i-,>'i ) vFf4|tf-^Lft/ii:rr-fe 


<» • (gp 


^ ' j g i 

7 £ 


yp|f ff/if f|f frr: || p r i 

Analysis. — There is an appealing quality in the ascending and descending 
fourths with which this song opens. A similar song recorded among the Chip- 
pewa (Densmore, 1910, No. 137) contains the words "I do not care for you 
any more." The latter portion of this melody is based on the tonic triad with 
the fifth as its lowest tone, the song ascending and descending on these tones. 
With two exceptions the intervals are fourths and whole tones. 

Tliere is an element of humor in the next song, which was said 
to be very old. It is the song of a man, left at home alone, who sings 
about his wife and wishes she would return. 


Voice J : 72 


No. 97. Song of a Man Alone at Home 

Recorded by Jimmie O'Hammon 

[Bdll. 136 

(Catalog No. 2022) 

1st rendition 


2nd rendition 

rTiiir rpQjer ^n^^ i pm 


Free translation. — Don't be away too long. Don't stay away if you are not doing anything. 

Analysis. — This is a whimsical melody with an asceut of a major sixth In 
its first two progressions and an almost equal number of ascending and descend- 
ing intervals. Slight differences occur in the renditions, two of which are tran- 
scribed. It is interesting to note a teasing quality, which seems to increase 
during the performance. The song contains the tones of a major scale ending 
on the tone above the keynote (cf. Nos. 86 and 87). 

The next song was said to have been composed at Kamloops, British 
Columbia, and to be sung by Indian cowboys when riding the range. 

No. 98. Indian Cowboy Song 
Recorded by Annie Borj:M 

(Catalog No. 2059) 

J = 96 

^ii^ f ff| | :ffff itfff |f ffT^fff^ 

■44?^ L p— T'-T ipr ri*-i-f*f» i »*» i p > ip' pirrrT" 


i» ft 








Anthrop. Pap. No. 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B, C. — DENlSMOKE 95 

Analysis. — Six consecutive renditions of this song were recorded, the first 
half of the performance showing a steady rise in pitch. The first rendition 
began on E flat, the second ended on F natural, and the fourth rendition began 
on F sharp, this pitch level being continued to the end of the performance. 
A rise in pitch level has been noted in Indian songs containing a sudden change 
in register, this occurring chiefly in Pueblo songs. (Cf. Densmore, 1938, pp. 
182-183.) The latter portion of this song is in the lower portion of its com- 
pass, which necessitates an ascent of an octave to the first tone of the repetition. 
This may explain the singer's laclv of ability to maintain the level of pitch. 
The dotted quarter note (B flat) occurring about midway through the melody 
gives vigor to the rhythm. With one exception the phrases have a descending 
trend. The low range of voice is often found among Indian women. 


The following information was supplied by Dennis Peters: 
If a girl comes to maturity in July, the headman comes, cooks a 
salmon, and gives her a little. If this is not done, the salmon go away. 
A girl dreamed that she was fishing. She put down her hook twice 
without success, and the third time she felt something heavy. The 
lake was clear and deep. She drew up her line and when the object 
was about 10 feet below the surface she saw it was the shape of a 
head. She pulled it up, and it was the wooden mask worn later by 
the headman when he presided at weddings and important events. 
The masks were all made like this, and were worn with the open mouth 
on a level with the wearer's eyes. 


These songs were recorded by men and women from widely sep- 
arated localities and the songs are of many types. For that reason 
a summary must concern itself with varied characteristics, not with 
a single pattern peculiar to a region. 

Four patterns of melodic structure have been observed in more 
than 2,500 Indian songs, recorded by the present writer. These are 
(1) a formation on the simplest overtones of a fundamental, generally 
called a triad formation, (2) a formation based on the interval of 
a fourth, (3) a typical folk-song structure which will be described, 
and (4) a period formation. The fourth pattern does not occur in 
the present series of songs and the first is not prominent. The second 
pattern of melody has been connected, in certain tribes, with songs 
of men, birds, or animals in motion, especially with songs concerning 
birds (cf. Densmore, 1913, pp. 99-101). In many instances, this pat- 
tern consists of ascending and descending intervals of a fourth; in 
others we find an incomplete tetrachord to which the term "tetratone" 
has been applied (see p. 18) ;' and in still others we find a complete 
tetrachord, with the semitone variously placed. This formation was 
noted with special frequency among the Nootka and Quileute songs re- 
corded at Neah Bay, Wash. Thirty songs in a total of 210 contained 


this formation, and a list of the titles and uses of these songs does 
not connect them with the idea of motion nor with birds and animals. 
It appears as a distinct form. In this connection, it is interesting to 
note that the tetrachord was the basis of the musical theory of ancient 
Greece, the term meaning specifically the four strings of the lyre. The 
outer strings were always tuned to a perfect fourth, an interval ex- 
pressed by the Greeks, as in modern times, by the acoustic ratio 3 to 
4. The inner strings were tuned in a variety of relations to each 
other and to the outer strings. The musical theory of Europe since 
the seventeenth century has been based on the triad, in which the 
interval between the outer tones is a perfect fifth, expressed by the 
ratio 2 to 3. 

In the songs under present analysis there are instances in which 
the tetrachord is complete, as in No. 27; instances in which it is in- 
complete, as in No. 13; and songs in which the fourth is prominent 
in the framework of the melody, without intermediate tones of suffi- 
cient frequency to suggest an incomplete tetrachord, as in Nos. 28, 
35, 53, 66, and 79. In songs with this formation the relation of the 
tones to a keynote is not always clear, showing this to be a distinct 
type of melody formation. 

Mention has been made of the triad formation as occurring infre- 
quently in the present series of songs. Two instances of this forma- 
tion are Nos. 88 and 90. Special attention is directed to a peculiar 
pattern of melody in which a keynote is clearly implied, but the song 
ends on the tone above the keynote, preceded by the keynote. This 
occurs in Nos. 86, 87, and 97. This has been found in only 9 songs 
in a total of 1,553 under cumulative analyses (Densmore, 1939), 8 of 
the number being recorded at Neah Bay, and the ninth being a dance 
song of the Cocopa Indians on the Mexican border. The three songs 
in the present series having this ending were recorded by Jimmie 
O'Hammon. No. 86 is concerning the prophet Skilmaha, No. 97 is 
a whimsical song of a man left alone at home, and No. 87 is a song 
of the formal termination of the period of mourning for the dead, 
a custom observed among the Cocopa and Yuma (cf. Densmore, 1932, 
pp. 41-100). The songs with this ending recorded at Neah Bay com- 
prised the following : Five Makah songs of the Potlatch and the Klo- 
kali dance, and one Makah song of a man who stayed at home from 
war, this being the same whimsical type of song as No. 97 in the present 
series. One of the Neah Bay songs with this ending was a Clayoquot 
song to quiet the waves of the sea, and another was a Quileute song 
used in treating the sick. It will be noted that five are songs of 
dances in which foreign influence might be embodied, and two are 
songs of supposedly magic power, which was frequently attributed 
to strangers. The visit of "Spaniards" to Neah Bay has been noted 
(Densmore, 1939, p. 7) , and the occurrence of these slight coincidences 27] MUSIC OF INDIANS OF B. C. — DiENSMOIREi 97 

in musical form becomes significant, especially as the high vocal 
drone was observed among the Papago of southern Arizona and the 
Quileute, near Neah Bay. ( Cf . Densmore, 1929, p. 14 ; 1939, pp. 25-26. ) 
The typical folk-song structure, indicated as the third form of 
structure in Indian songs, is described as follows by A. H. Fox- 
Strangways, the eminent English authority on this subject, in an 
article chiefly concerning English folk song. He states, 

the folk singer has not only no harmony (in the sense of other notes than the 
melody), but no feeling for it . . . His "harmony" is in the tune itself; one 
note of the tune has an affinity for (or an antipathy to) some other; connections 
are thus formed, and structure is made possible. Shortly, the folk-songster is 
satisfied with aflinity between notes, where we must have consonance clinching 
what is past and prophesying what is to come. The nucleus of his scale is 
three notes a tone apart (F, G, A, for instance) which have this affinity; above 
and below this are two outliers, C, D, which also have it ; beyond those five he 
takes notes tentatively. [Fox-Strangways, 1935.] 

Without pursuing this subject further, we note the preference for 
whole tone progressions in the fact that, in the cumulative analysis 
of 1,343 songs, 41 percent of the progressions were whole tones and 
4 percent were semitones. This table of analysis was not extended to 
the Nootka and Quileute songs, as the uniformity of percentages in 
various tribes appeared to establish the melodic feature under con- 
sideration. This stepping from tone to an adjacent tone is distributed 
all through Indian melodies and is not a striking contrast to our own 
usage. It becomes evident as a phase of melodic structure, however, 
when it is unusually prominent, and this was first observed in songs 
recorded at Neah Bay. In previous songs it had been shown chiefly 
in songs with a compass of three tones which formed only 4 percent 
of 1,553 melodies. At Neah Bay this type of melody was a character- 
istic of the material, in many of these songs the compass being only 
three tones with the middle tone as the most prominent. The singer 
appeared to feel that the middle tone was the basis of his melody, step- 
ping thence to the adjacent tone above and below. Two instances of 
this in the present series are Nos. 9 and 71, the first being an appeal to 
certain animals by a doctor when treating the sick, and the second 
being the song of a man in a "foggy place," confused and uncertain 
where to go. No. 49 consists of the two intervals of a whole tone 
each, F sharp-G sharp and B-C sharp. Several songs of the present 
series end with two whole-tone progressions descending to the key- 
note. Two songs (Nos. 71 and 75) consist of the three tones, the 
keynote, its second, and third (major tonality), with one additional 
tone, the former containing the semitone below, and the latter con- 
taining a whole tone above this series. One song. No. 70, contains only 
the keynote and its major second and major third. These melodies 
resemble certain dancing songs of the Cocopa (cf. Densmore, 1932, 
Songs Nos. 116-119). 


The Indians of British Columbia have been in contact with people 
from Scotland for many generations and No. 95 suggests Scotch in- 
fluence. These songs have not been tabulated with reference to the 
fourth and second 5-toned scales, often designated as the Gaelic scales. 
A downward glissando at the end of the song, frequently noted at 
Neah Bay, appears in No. 44. 

An interesting phase of rhythm occurs in Nos. 1 and 42. These 
songs are felt to be in double rhythm and are transcribed in 2-4 time, 
yet the stress is equal on the first and second counts of the measure in 
the larger part of the melody. Transcriptions of Indian songs are 
divided into measures according to the accented tones, yet the accents 
in Indian singing are not always emphatic. The uneven measure 
lengths in Indian songs do not represent a jerky, heavy emphasis on 
certain tones. There is a rhythm of the melody as a whole which is 
apparent to a student, hearing the phonograph record over and over 
many times. This is subtle and constitutes a large part of the charm 
of the song. The uneven lengths of separate measures should be rec- 
ognized as part of the larger rhythm of the melody as a whole. 

The accompanying drum is usually in a steady meter throughout 
an Indian song. Thus the metronome indication and the rhythm indi- 
cation at the beginning of a transcription are understood to be main- 
tained during the entire performance. When an important difference 
appears it is generally transcribed with the drum on a separate staff. 
This occurs in Nos. 29, 30, and 31 in the present series. These are war 
songs. An irregular drumbeat was transcribed with 6 songs recorded 
at Neah Bay, these comprising 1 dream song, 1 song of the Homatsa 
dance, and 4 songs of the Klukluwatk dance. One song of the north- 
ern Ute, a Turkey dance song, was thus transcribed (cf. Densmore, 
1922, No. 30). Among the Yuma and Cocopa Indians, 14 songs were 
thus transcribed. These comprised, among the Yuma, 8 songs of the 
Deer dance, 3 of the Lightning dance, and 1 of the Bird dance, with 
2 songs of the Cocopa Bird dance (cf. Densmore, 1932, Nos. 50, 55, 57, 
58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64, 66, 69, 97, 105, 110). It is not claimed that the 
songs transcribed with irregular drumbeat are all the songs in which 
this occurred. 

From the foregoing, it appears that the songs recorded in British 
Columbia bear interesting resemblances to the songs recorded at 
Neah Bay and on the Mexican border, as well as resemblances to 
Scotch songs and to the accepted basis of English folk song. The 
foregoing observations are offered as an aid to further study, not as 
presenting any hypothesis or theory. They have arisen in the exam- 
ination of the melodies, which are transcribed, as nearly as is possible, 
in ordinary musical notation. These observations suggest influences 
from the east, across Canada, and also from the south, along the 
coast of the United States. 


CuixiN, Stewart 

1907. Games of the North American Indians. 24th Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. 
Ethnol., 1902-03, pp. 1-846. 
Densmobe, Frances 

1910. Chippewa music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 45. 

1913. Chippewa music — II. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 53. 

1918. Teton Sioux music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 61. 

1922. Northern Ute music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 75. 

1923. Mandan and Hidatsa music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 80. 

1926. Music of the Tule Indians of Panama. Smithsonian Misc. Coll., vol. 
77, No. 11. 

1928. Uses of plants by the Chippewa Indians. 44th Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. 

Ethnol. 1926-27, pp. 275-397. 

1929. Chippewa customs. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 86. 
1929 a. Papago music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 90. 
1929 b. Pawnee music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 93. 
1932. Menominee music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 102. 

1932 a. Yuman and Yaqui music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 110. 

1936. Cheyenne and Arapaho music. Southwest Mus. Pap. No. 10. Los 


1937. The Alabama Indians and their music. In Straight Texas. Publ. 

Texas Folk-Lore Soc, No. 13, pp. 270-293. 

1938. Music of Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico, Southwest Mus. Pap. 

No. 12. Los Angeles. 

1939. Nootka and Quileute music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 124. 

1942. A search for songs among the Chitimacha Indians in Louisiana. 
Anthrop. Pap. No. 19, Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 133. 
Fox-StRzV NOWAYS, Aethub Henry 

1935. The folksong basis. London Observer. January. 
Helmholtz, Hermann Ltjdwig Ferdinand von 

1885. On the sensations of tone as a physiological basis for the theory of 
music. Trans, by A. J. Ellis, 2d English ed. London. 
MooNEY, James 

1896. The Ghost Dance religion. 14th Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 1892-93, 
pt. 2, pp. 641-1110. 
Swan, James G. 

1870. The Indians of Cape Flattery, at the entrance to the Strait of Fuca, 
Washington Territory. Smithsonian Contr. Knowledge, vol. 16, 
No. 220, pp. i-ix, 1-106. 
S WANTON, John R. 

1909. Tlinglt myths and texts. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 39. 
Teit, James 

1900. The Thompson Indians of British Columbia. Mem. Amer. Mus. Nat. 
Hist., vol. 2, Anthrop. 1, No. 4. 









2. TYPICAL Dwellings in Hop-Pickers' camp. 



1. Communal Dwelling in Hoppickers' Camp. 


STANDS IN Foreground 



1 . Group of Indians Engaged in Barter of Clothing. 

CORNER OF Hop Field. 



1 . Wires Lowered for Removal of Hops. 

2. Indians Gathering Hops. 



1. Women Gathering Hops. 

2. Wires Raised to Original Position After Removal of Hops 



1. Dwelling iAt right, occupied by Tasalt. 

2. Bones used in slahal Game. 



1 . Slahal Game in Progress, showing Drum. 

2. Slahal Game in Progress. Leader Indicating "Guess." 
























Bureau of American Ethnology 

Bulletin 136 

Anthropological Papers, No. 28 

Choctaw Music 




The following study of Choctaw music was conducted in January 
1933, as part of a survey of Indian music in the Gulf States, made 
possible by a grant-in-aid from the National Research Council. A 
certain peculiarity had been observed in songs of the Yuma of south- 
em Arizona, the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, the Seminole of 
Florida, and the Tule Indians of Panama. The purpose of the survey 
was to ascertain whether this peculiarity was present in the songs 
of other tribes in the South. This purpose was fulfilled by the dis- 
covery of this peculiarity in songs of the Choctaw living near the 
Choctaw Indian Agency at Philadelphia, Miss. No trace of the pecu- 
liarity was found in songs of the Alabama in Texas, and no songs 
remained among the Chitimacha of Louisiana. On leaving Missis- 
sippi, the research was resumed among the Seminole near Lake Okee- 
chobee in Florida. On this extended trip the writer had the helpful 
companionship of her sister, Margaret Densmore. 

The Choctaw represent a group of Indians whose music has not 
previously been studied by the writer and their songs are valuable 
for comparison with songs collected in other regions and contained in 
former publications.^ 

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the National Research Coun- 
cil for the opportunity of making this research. 

Frances Densmore. 

iSee bibliography (Densmore, 1910, 1913, 1918, 1922, 1923. 1926, 1928, 1929, 1929 a, 
1929 b, 1932, 1932 a, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1942). 




List of songs 107 

1. Arranged in order of serial numbers 107 

2. Arranged in order of catalog numbers 109 

Names of singers and number of songs transcribed, exclusive of duplicates. Ill 

Characterization of singers and places where songs were recorded 111 

Special signs used in transcription of songs 112 

Brief list of words used by the Choctaw of Mississippi 112 

The Choctaw tribe 115 

Musical instruments 117 

Certain peculiarities of Choctaw songs 118 

War songs 122 

Ball game 127 

Bullet game 132 

Dances 134 

Tick dance 135 

Drunken-man dance 143 

Duck dance 149 

Snake dance 151 

Steal-partner dance 153 

Bear dance 157 

Stomp dance 160 

Terrapin, Quail, Turkey, Chicken, and Pleasure dances 172 

Hunting song 176 

Songs connected with pastimes 178 

Comparison between the analyses of Choctaw songs and the analyses of 

songs recorded in certain other tribes 181 

Melodic and rhythmic analysis of songs by serial numbers (tables 1-12) ._ 184 

Bibliography 188 



10. 1, Sidney Wesley. 2, Mary Hickman 188 

11. 1, Lysander Tubby. 2, Olman Comby 188 

12. 1, Maggie Billie in native dress (1933). 2, Maggie BiUie's dress and 

apron 188 

13. 1, Maggie Billie's bead collar. 2, Maggie Billie's fancy comb 188 

14. Choctaw children in native dress (1933) 188 

15. 1, Man's head band of pierced silver. 2, Man's bead collar 188 

16. 1, Sidney Wesley approaching through the woods. 2, Mary Hick- 

man's house, where songs were recorded 188 

17. 1, Robert Henry's house, where songs were recorded. 2, Group at 

Robert Henry's house when songs were recorded 188 


435660 — i3- 



18. 1, Man's bead necklace. 2, Racket used in ball game. 3, Scrimmage 

in ball game 188 

19. Bob Henry holding rackets in position for play. __ 188 

20. 1, Whistle. 2, Robert Henry blowing whistle 188 

21. 1, Ball used in ball game. 2, Four handkerchiefs folded for use in 

bullet game 188 


3. Design on whistle 129 

4. Robert Henry's personal design on whistle 130 


1. Abranged in Order of Serial Numbers 

War Songs 

Serial No. Catalog No. Page 

Warsong 2208 124 

"Begging for gunpowder" song 2366 125 

"I am going" 2367 125 

"Slacker song" 2368 126 

Victory song 2369 127 

Songs With G.\mes 

6. Song for success in the ball game 2263 131 

(DupUcate of No. 6) 2266 131 

7. Bullet game song (a) 2202 133 

8. Bullet game song (b) 2270 134 

9. Bullet game song (c) 2371 134 

Tick Dance Songs 

Tick dance song (a) 2200 136 

Tick dance song (b) . 2201 137 

Tick dance song (c) 2210 138 

Tick dance song (d) 2215 139 

Tick dance song (e) 2357 140 

Tick dance song (f) 2358 140 

Tick dance song (g) 2370 141 

Tick dance song (h) 2374 141 

Tick dance song (i) 2375 142 

Tick dance song (j) 2376 142 

Tick dance song (k) 2352 143 

Drunken-man Dance Songs 

Drunken-man dance song (a) 2355 144 

Drunken-man dance song (b) 2363 144 

Drunken-man dance song (c) 2364 145 

Drunken-man dance song (d) 2365 146 

Drunken-man dance song (e) 2379 147 

Drunken-man dance song (f).. 2380 148 

Drunken-man dance song (g) 2381 148 

Drunken-man dance song (h) 2382 148 

Duck Dance Songs 

29. Duck dance song (a) 2203 150 

30. Duck dance song (b) 2269 151 



1. Arranged in Order of Serial Numbers — Continued 
Snake Dance Songs 

Serial No. Catalog No. Page 

31. Snake dance song (a) 2204 152 

32. Snake dance song (b) 2373 153 

Steal-partner Dance Songs 

33. Steal-partner dance song (a) 2377 154 

34. Steal-partner dance song (b) 2359 154 

35. Steal-partner dance song (c) 2378 155 

36. Steal-partner dance song (d) 2360 155 

37. Steal-partner dance song (e) 2361 155 

38. Steal-partner dance song (f) 2362 156 

39. Steal-partner dance song (g) 2205 157 

Bear Dance Songs 

40. Bear dance song (a) 2192 

41. Bear dance song (b) 2264 

42. Bear dance song (c) 2267 

43. Bear dance song (d) 2268 

Stomp Dance Songs 

44. Stomp dance song (a) 2194 

45. Stomp dance song (b) 2195 

46. Stomp dance song (c) 2196 

47. Stomp dance song (d) 2197 

48. Stomp dance song (e) 2198 

49. Stomp dance song (f) 2199 

50. Stomp dance song (g) 221 1 

51. Stomp dance song (h) 2216 

(Repetition of No. 51) 2216 

52. Stomp dance song (i) 2271 

(Repetition of No. 52) 2271 

63. Stomp dance song (j) 2372 

64. Stomp dance song (k) 2354 

65. Stomp dance song (1) 2353 

66. Backward-and-f orw ard dance song 2206 

Miscellaneous Dance Songs 

57. Terrapin dance song (a) 2207 

58. Terrapin dance song (b) 2356 

59. Quail dance song 2265 

60. Turkey dance song 2209 

61. Chicken dance song . 2193 

62. Pleasure dance song 2214 

Hunting Song 

63. Hunting song 2272 177 

Songs Connected With Pastimes 

64. "Rabbit in the garden" 2212 179 

65. A dog chases a raccoon 2213 180 28] CHOCTAW MUSIC — DENSMORE 

2. Arranged in Order of Catalog Numbers 


Title of song 

Bear dance song (a) 

Chicken dance song 

Stomp dance song (a) 

Stomp dance song (b) 

Stomp dance song (c) 

Stomp dance song (d) 

Stomp dance song (e) 

Stomp dance song (f) 

Tick dance song (a) 

Tick dance song (b) 

Bullet game song (a) 

Duck dance song (a) 

Snake dance song (a) 

Steal-partner dance song (g) 

Back ward-and-forward dance song. 

Terrapin dance song (a) 

War song 

Turkey dance song 

Tick dance song (c) 

Stomp dance song (g) 

"Rabbit in the garden" 

A dog chases a raccoon 

Pleasure Dance 

Tick dance song (d) 

Stomp dance song (h) 

(Repetition of 2216) 

Song for success in the ball game_ _ 

Bear dance song (b) 

Quail dance song 

Duplicate of No. 2263 

Bear dance song (c) 

Bear dance song (d) 

Duck dance song (b) 

Bullet game song (b) 

Stomp dance song (i) 

(Repetition of No. 2271) 

Hunting song 

Tick dance song (k) 

Stomp dance song (1) 

Stomp dance song (k) 

Drunken-man dance song (a) 

Terrapin dance song (b) 

Tick dance song (e) 

Tick dance song (f) 

Steal-partner dance song (b) 

Steal-partner dance song (d) 

Steal-partner dance song (e) 

Name of singer 

Sidney Wesley. 












Robert Henry. 


Gus Willis. 




Lysander Tubby. 
Olman Comby. . 

Robert Henry. 



Lysander Tubby. 













2. Arranged in Order of Catalog Numbers — Continued 


Title of song 

Name of singer 



Steal-partner dance song (f) 

Drunken-man dance song (b)._ 
Drunken-man dance song (c)... 
Drunken-man dance song (d)._ 
"Begging for gunpowder" song. 

"I am going" 

"Slacker song" 

Victory song 

Tick dance song (g) 

Bullet game song (c) 

Stomp dance song (j) 

Snake dance song (b) 

Tick dance song (h)' 

Tick dance song (i)' 

Tick dance song (j)' 

Steal-partner dance song (a)L-. 

Steal-partner dance song (c)' 

Drunken-man dance song (e)L. 
Drunken-man dance song (f)'.. 
Drunken-man dance song (g)-.. 
Drunken-man dance song (h)__. 
Whistle melody 

Lysander Tubby. 








Robert Henry. 























« Gus Willis joined in the singing of this song. 


Lysander Tubby 27 

Sidney Wesley^ 25 

Robert Henry 6 

Gus Willis 5 

Olman Comby 2 

Total _ 65 



Sidney Wesley* (pi. 10, fig. 1) treats the sick by means of herbs. His hair 
is white and rather long and he called attention to it as an evidence that he is 
a doctor. The interpreter stated that his hair was purposely disarranged, 
according to his regular custom. Although commonly known as Doctor Wesley, 
he has a Choctaw name given him when a child. In explaining his Choctaw 
name (see p. 112), the interpreter said, "It means that if anything like game is 
to be killed, the owner of this name kills it himself instead of leaving the work 
to be done by someone else." His independence and self-reliance are in accord 
with his name. Wesley was not asked to record his singing with the sick. He 
said it is "like praying," and that he never heard of prayer to a "spirit-animal," 
which is customary in certain other tribes. He said, "The chief tells the doctor 
to help the sick person." Sidney Wesley lives near the Government Day School 
at Tucker, 7 miles south of Philadelphia, Miss., and his songs were recorded 
in the house of his neighbor and friend, Mary Hickman^* (pi. 10, fig. 2). He was 
a particularly pleasant man to work with, and his use of English was suflScient 
for the simpler phases of the work. 

Lysander Tubby (pi. 11, fig. 1) is a much younger man than Wesley and learned 
the Choctaw songs from an older brother. He lives across the road and a short 
distance from the Pearl River Day School, which is 8 miles west of Philadelphia. 
Many dances are held in that locality and Tubby is the leader of the singers. A 
portion of his songs were recorded in the Pearl River School and a portion were 
recorded in the oflBce of the United States Indian agent at Philadelphia, whose 
courtesy is gratefully acknowledged. 

Robert Henry*" (pi. 20, fig. 2) resides in a different part of the reservation, his 
home being in Bogue Chitto village, about 14 miles northwest of Philadelphia. 
Henry takes part in the ceremonial ball game and is considered the best authority 
on the magic connected with it. Songs were recorded in his house, including a 
song for success in the game, and the playing of the whistles used before and 
during the game to bring success. 

» Died May 5, 1937. 

'» Died August 25, 1934. 

2«» Died December 18, 1940. f -| 




[BULL. 136 

Gus Willis is a prominent member of tlie older group in the tribe and lives at 
Pearl River. Dances are often held at his house and he leads the singing on 
these occasions. His Choctavp name is Lo'vpintc, the meaning of vphich is not 
knovpn. In addition to songs that he sang alone, he recorded songs with Lysander 
Tubby to show the manner in which other singers join the leader of the singing. 
His songs were recorded at the Pearl River Day School, 

Olman Comby (pi. 11, fig. 2) is a native policeman at the agency and is 40 years 
of age. He acted as interpreter throughout the work and recorded a limited 
number of songs at the agency office, when Lysander Tubby's songs were being 
recorded. He also supplied information on various tribal customs. 

1 placed above a series of notes indicates that they constitute a 

I I 

rhythmic unit. 

+ placed above a note indicates that the tone is sung slightly less than a 
semitone higher than the diatonic pitch, in all renditions of the song. 

— placed above a note indicates that the tone is sung slightly less than a 
semitone lower than the diatonic pitch, in all renditions of the song. 

.) placed above a note or rest shows that the tone or rest is given less than 
the indicated time. 


These words were noted down as pronounced by the Indians. The corrected 
spelling and the analysis of doubtful words were supplied by Dr. John R. Swanton, 
whose cooperation is gratefully acknowledged. The cross I (the Polish 1) is 
a surd I, which approximates English thl and is sometimes so rendered. 

Names of Persons 

American name 

Sidney Wesley 

Mary Hickman 

Indian name 

LapIn' tabe' se' ihoke'. 

Ato' baa' ntci.. 


Commonly translated, "Kills it him- 
self." This word has in it Ilapin- 
tabi, perhaps with the suflHx -achi, 
which may mean "he himself killed 
it." Ihoke' seems to mean "it is 
so," hoke being a form of oke from 
which some think our O. K. is 
derived. This word is not entirely 

Commonly translated, "putting it 
back." It may be itabanchi or 
itabananchi, "to put together," 
or it may contain atoba, "to make 
of," or "where a thing is made," 
and anchi, "to put a robe on." 


Musical Instruments 

O'skula Whistle. 

Alepa chito Big drum. 

Itl' mobAbe' (may be Itimaboa also pronounced 

Itimola be) "Striking things together." 

striking sticks. 

Hila A dance, or "to dance." 

Hila tolupli Stomp dance. 

Shatanni hila Tick dance. 

Tinsanale hila (perhaps from Choctaw iti° 

shanali, to turn or twist around one another).. Drunken-man dance. 

Sinti hila Snake dance. 

Kofi hila Quail dance. 

Itimolevi (should perhaps be Itimilaueli) Steal-partner dance. 

Taloa Song. 


By Frances Densmore 


The earliest mention of the Choctaw tribe is in the De Soto nar- 
ratives.^ In his march down the Alabama Valley in 1540, De Soto 
took captive "the giant Tascalusa," chief of the Mobile tribe, which 
was closely related to the Choctaw. Later he passed through some 
of the eastern towns of the Choctaw Indians on the Black Warrior 

The Choctaw are a Muskhogean tribe whose early home was in 
southeastern Mississippi and southwestern Alabama. They were 
mainly an agricultural people when the white man came, and their 
wars were usually defensive. 

The French entered this region at tiie very end of the seventeenth 
century and established colonies at Mobile, Biloxi, and New Orleans. 
Concerning the population of the Choctaw tribe, Dr. J. R. Swanton 
(1922, pp. 450, 451, 454) says, "It would seem from the figures given 
us by travelers and officials that during the eighteenth century the 
tribe had a population of about 15,000." 

Friendly relations with the French were established and the Choc- 
taw helped the French in their wars on other tribes. In the war 
against the Natchez in 1730, a large body of Choctaw warriors served 
under a French officer. This friendly relationship continued until 
the English traders succeeded in winning some of the eastern Choctaw 
villages. War followed between the Choctaw who were friendly to 
the English and those who remained loyal to the French, this war 
continuing until 1763. In that year, the French surrendered their 
possessions in the United States to Great Britain, and members of 
the Choctaw tribe continued to move across the Mississippi River 
into Louisiana. 

The English authorities in the southern colonies made two or three 
treaties with Indians in that region, fixing boundaries that were 

* For material regarding the social and ceremonial life of the Choctaws, including salient 
facts of their history, see Swanton (1922, 1931). 



referred to in treaties made later with the United States. The jfirst 
of these is "a treaty between Great Britain and the Chickasaw and 
Choctaw Indians," made at Mobile, March 26, 1765. Article 5 of 
this treaty is, in part, 

to prevent all disputes on account of encroachments, or supposed encroach- 
ments, committed by the English inhabitants of this or any other of His Majesty's 
Provinces, on the lands or hunting grounds reserved and claimed by the 
Chickasaw and Choctaw^ Indians^, and that no mistakes, doubts or disputes, may, 
for the future, arise thereupon, in consideration of the great marks of friend- 
ship, benevolence and clemency, extended to us, the said Chickasavv^ and Choctaw 
Indians, by His Majesty King George the Third, we, the chiefs and head 
warriors, distinguished by great and small medals, and gorgets, and bearing 
His Majesty's commissions as Chiefs and leaders of our respective nations . . . 
do hereby agree, that, for the future, the boundary be settled by a line extended 
from Gross Point, in the island of Mount Louis ... to the mouth of the eastern 
branch of the Tombecbee River . . . 

The exact boimdaries are apart from present interest, but the article 
closes with the statement that "none of His Majesty's subjects shall 
be permitted to settle on Tombechee River to the northward of the 
rivulet called Centebonck" (Thomas in Royce, 1899, pp. 559, 560). 

The first treaty between the Government of the United States and 
the Choctaw Indians was concluded at Hopewell, S. C, January 3, 
1786 (Royce 1899, p. 650). By this treaty the boundaries of certain 
lands were designated, "the Choctaw nation to live and hunt" within 
these boundaries. More important was the famous treaty of Dancing 
Rabbit Creek, September 27-28, 1830, by which all Choctaw, except 
those who chose to become citizens of the United States, were to sur- 
render their lands east of the Mississippi and to accept in place of 
them a new Reservation in what is now the State of Oklahoma. The 
greater part removed soon afterward, but a considerable body, the 
"Mississippi Choctaw," refused to emigrate, and their descendants 
remain in their old country to the present day. 

The Mississippi Choctaw numbered 2,255 in 1904, 1,162 in 1910, and 
1,253 in 1916-19. Harvey K. Meyer, superintendent of the Choctaw 
Indian Agency at Philadelphia, Miss., states (correspondence Decem- 
ber 21, 1939) : "When the census for this jurisdiction was compiled 
in January of the calendar year, a total of 1,974 were then enrolled 
as eligible Ohoctaws." 

At the present time (1933), many of the Choctaw continue to wear a 
distinctive costume, evidently influenced by early white settlers. 
Maggie Billie (pi. 12, fig. 1) is an expert basket maker, and wears 
this costume when she comes to town. Her dress, apron, woven 
bead collar, and fancy comb are shown in plates 12 and 13. The 
latter is made from an ordinary "round comb"; the white orna- 
mentation is cut from a man's celluloid collar and the beadwork is 
on a stiffened band of dark cloth. The costume of little girls is 


similar to that of the women (pi. 14). A head band of pierced silver 
was formerly worn by the men (pi. 15, fig. 1). At present (1933), 
the typical costume of a man includes a white shirt opened in the 
back and having a white bosom that is round at the lower edge. 
With this is worn a flat collar of woven beadwork (pi. 15, fig. 2) 
and a necklace consisting of many strings of small beads (pi. 18, 


Sinking sticks. — The only instrument used by the Mississippi Choc- 
taw in accompanying their songs is a pair of striking sticks. These 
are made when needed, and those made by Sidney Wesley were about 
10 inches long. The sticks are not round, but slightly flattened on 
two sides, affording suitable surfaces for striking together. This 
form of percussion is not common among the Indians but was noted 
among the Menominee in connection with "magic power." * 

Drum. — Each medicine man at a ball game carried a drum, beating 
upon it during the game, Robert Henry, Sidney Wesley, and Gus 
Willis said that, within their knowledge, the drum has been used at no 
other time by the Mississippi Choctaw, The instrument is a small 
hand drum. Evidently this was in general use at an earlier time, as 
a missionary wrote, "The ancient Choctaw, in all his solemn cere- 
monies, as well as amusements and merrymakings, did not depend 
upon the jarring tones of the diminutive drum as he did upon his 
own voice" (Cushman, 1899). The same authority mentions a drum 
made from the trunk of a tree. 

The Choctaw at Bayou Lacomb, La., used a drum made from a tree 

Whistles. — ^A description of the cane whistles used by the Choctaw is 
contained in the section on the ball game (pp. 129, 130). These were 
blown by the medicine men on the night before that game, and during 

* David Amab described the opening of his grandfather's "medicine bundle" at a feast to 
secure success in hunting. "Amab helped his grandfather prepare the sticks which were 
tapped together during the songs . . . Those made for the writer were about 9 inches 
long, but it was not unusual for a hunter to use sticks that were longer. One stick was 
designated as the 'beater,' and a song concerning this stick was recorded, with the sticks 
tapped together as an accompaniment" (Densmore, 1932, p. 65). 

^ "The only musical instrument known to the Choctaw of Bayou Lacomb is the drum 
(the'ba) a good example of which is represented In plate 7. This is 30 inches in height 
and 15 inches in diameter. It is made of a section of a black gum tree ; the cylinder wall 
is less than 2 inches in thickness. The head consists of a piece of untanned goat skin. The 
skin is stretched over the open end, while wet and pliable, and is passed around a hoop 
made of hickory about half an inch thick. A similar hoop is placed above the first. To the 
second hoop are attached four narrow strips of rawhide, each of which is fastened to a 
peg passing diagonally through the wall of the drum. To tighten the head of the drum it 
is necessary merely to drive the peg farther in. In this respect, as well as in general form, 
the drum resembles a specimen from Virginia in the British Museum, as well as the drum 
even now in use on the west coast of Africa. It is not possible to say whether this instru- 
ment is a purely American form or whether it shows the influence of the Negro." (Bushnell, 
1909, p.22.) This is similar to the "voodoo drum" of Haiti, a notable example of which is 
in the United States National Museum. (Cf. Densmore, 1927, p. 57, pi. 23, c.) 


the game to bring success to certain groups of players. No other use 
of the instrument was mentioned by the informants. 


Period formation. — A definite form consisting of several periods, 
recurring in regular order, was first noted by the writer when record- 
ing songs of the Yuma Indians, in 1922 (Densmore, 1932). This 
observation led, eventually, to the study of Choctaw songs in which 
the same peculiarity was found. The periods, or sections, in these 
songs are of relative lengths, the second period being much shorter 
than the first, also higher in pitch and different in rhythm. The first 
period is usually repeated, but the second is rarely repeated and is 
followed by a recurrence of the first period, or by one or two other 
periods. In transcription, these are indicated by the letters A, B, C, 
and D. 

The "period formation" was found, in a somewhat modified form, 
in songs of the Tule Indians from San Bias, Panama, recorded in 
Washington in 1924 (Densmore, 1926), and occurred with marked 
frequency in the songs from Santo Domingo Pueblo, N. Mex. (Dens- 
more, 1938) ,® and in the songs from Acoma, Isleta, and Cochiti Pueb- 
los.'' No evidence of it was found in Nootka and Quileute songs 
(Densmore, 1939), nor in songs recorded in British Columbia (An- 
throp. Pap. No. 27) and in many tribes of Indians in the United 
States. It was, however, found in a few of the oldest songs recorded 
among the Seminole Indians in Florida.' Under these circumstances, 
it seemed desirable to ascertain the distribution of the peculiarity 
among Indians in the Gulf States. Such a survey was made possible 
by a gi'ant from the National Research Council and the work began 
in December 1932. The first tribe visited was the Alabama in Texas. 
Sixty-two songs were recorded, but none contained this form. The 
Chitimacha of Louisiana were selected as the next tribe for observation 
(Densmore, 1943), but no songs remained in that tribe. The oldest 
man related stories in which songs were formerly sung, but said that 
he "never was a singer and did not learn the songs." 

The Choctaw living near the Choctaw Indian Agency at Phila- 
delphia were then visited and, as usual, the work was begun with 
the oldest medicine man in the group. Sidney Wesley was asked 
to record the oldest songs that he could remember, and the period 
formation was heard in his first song (No. 61). He was encouraged 
to remember other old songs and the period formation was heard in 
the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, and eleventh songs that he recorded, 

« Pages 51 and 52 state that, from the records, this '"appears to have been an early custom 
in Mexico ... at the time of the Conquest." 

^ Unpublished material, Bureau of American Ethnology. 


as well as in four subsequent recordings. Thus the period formation 
occurred in 10 of the 25 songs recorded by the oldest Choctaw singer. 
Next to Wesley in seniority was Robert Henry, who recorded 6 songs, 
one of which contained the period formation. This did not occur in 
27 dance songs recorded by Lysander Tubby and 2 songs recorded by 
Olman Comby, both being younger singers who recorded only the 
songs of various dances. 

Two periods, designated as A and B, occur in Nos. 11, 12, 40, 41, 
45, 46, 48, 49, 51, and 60, and three periods, designated as A, B, and 
C, in Nos. 56 and 61. 

Absence of instrumental accom/paniinent in certain songs. — This 
custom was mentioned by informants and noted at the dance attended 
at Pearl River. The dances without instrumental accompaniment, 
according to informants, are the War, Tick, Drunken-man, Snake, 
Steal-partner, and Stomp dances; the songs of the bullet game are 
also without accompaniment. When listening to the songs at the 
dance, an effort was made to explain the precision and rhythm with- 
out accompaniment. The explanation was found in the maimer of 
singing the songs, especially by the leader. The rhythm was empha- 
sized vocally, and the structure of the melody contributed to the 
effect. The former peculiarity was afterward heard in the unaccom- 
panied singing of a chorus of Negroes. There was the same throb 
of a fundamental tone, producing a rhythmic effect not unlike that 
of an accompanying instrument. Mention may be made here of 
another mannerism common to Choctaw and Negro singing. This 
consists in the occasional use of the labial m^ produced with the lips 
closed and continuing for the duration of a sixteenth to a dotted 
quarter note. This was heard also in a few Seminole songs recorded 
in Florida and in songs of a Makah medicine man, recorded at Neali 
Bay, Wash., where a company of Spaniards lived for a short time. 
The Makah singer said this visit of the Spaniards took place during 
the life of his grandfather's grandfather. The use of the labial 
may have occurred in the singing of men connected with this expe- 
dition, and the Indians may have adopted it, thinking the peculiar 
sound was connected with "medicine power." This would be in 
accord with Indian custom. The labial is transcribed with five Makah 
songs, all being connected with dreams and two being used in the 
treatment of the sick (Densmore, 1939, pp. 149, 150. 177, 178). The 
labial in Choctaw singing appears to be without significance, and 
is not indicated in the transcriptions. 

The melodic structure of the Choctaw dance songs is marked by 
an unusual number of recurrent tones and intervals. The recurrent 
tone is usually the lowest tone of the melody and its repetition gives 
a rhythmic effect, like the stroke of a percussion instrument. In 


other songs, a recurring interval is followed by a short rest, giving 
it prominence. This peculiarity cannot be shown in the transcrip- 
tion, but was clearly heard in the repetitions of the songs, at the 
dance at Pearl River. Examples of songs with recurring tones are 
Nos. 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, and 17 in the Tick dance songs, No. 37 in the 
Steal-partner dance songs, and Nos. 45 and 48 in the Stomp dance 
songs. Examples of songs with recurrent descending intervals are 
the Snake dance songs (Nos. 31, 32) and the Stomp dance songs No. 
46 and Nos. 50 to 54. Thus the leader of the Choctaw singers had 
a responsibility beyond the actual leading of the songs. He inter- 
preted them by his rendition in such a manner that an accompanying 
instrument was not necessary. 

Striking sticks used as percussion accompaniment. — Indian singers 
in other tribes have desired some form of percussion accompaniment 
when recording their songs. The sound of an Indian drum does 
not record clearly and various substitutes have been used, such as 
pounding on a pasteboard box, the resultant sound having definite- 
ness without resonance. A Makah singer preferred to pound on the 
floor with a cane, this sound being clearly recorded. The Choctaw 
singers did not care for any support to the voice and used the striking 
sticks only in songs with which they would be used at public gather- 
ings. An exception is the duplicate of the song for success at a 
ball game (Duplicate of No. 6). This was the first song recorded by 
Willis, who had not been questioned closely on tribal customs. 
Lysander Tubby had been recording songs and the striking sticks 
were in the room, so Willis used them with this first recording. 

The striking sticks are described and their use by the Menominee 
is mentioned on page 117. This form of accompaniment was used 
with the Bear, Quail, Duck, Terrapin, Turkey, Chicken, and Pleasure 
dances. (See table 12, p. 187.) 

Different '■''shouts'''' with each class of dance songs. — These vocaliza- 
tions, somewhat resembling yells, were rhythmic and preceded and 
followed the singing of the songs. The leader of the singers began 
these and the others joined him. The tone was not a singing tone 
and the shouts cannot be transcribed with any degree of accuracy in 
musical notation. Two types of these shouts are shown as nearly as 
is possible in notation, these being the shouts that preceded the Bear 
dance (No. 42) and those that followed the recording of a Snake dance 
song (No. 32). This custom has not been observed in northern tribes, 
though various sorts of yells and vocalizations often precede or follow 
Indian songs, or may occur during songs at a dance. It may be a 
form of the "hollering," which is a custom in Negro singing and was 
designated by that name among the Seminole of Florida. 


Swaying effect in melodies of Tnany dance songs. — The rhythmic 
effect of a dance song is generally due to the spacing of accents and 
the divisions of the counts, but in many Choctaw dance songs a sway- 
ing, rhythmic effect is produced by an alternation of ascending and 
descending, or descending and ascending intervals. This sequence is 
repeated throughout the song, and the effect is increased by the repe- 
titions of the song. Among the examples of this rhythmic effect are 
Nos. 11, 13, 14, 16, 19, 23, 24, 31, 39, 40, 42, 43, and 51. 

Indeterminate ending. — The renditions of 2 Choctaw dance songs 
(Nos. 18 and 19) end on the tone above the keynote. This peculiarity 
was observed first in a dance song of the Cocopa Indians, living near 
the southern border of Arizona (Densmore, 1932, song No. Ill, p. 182). 
It was observed next in 8 songs of the Nootka and Quileute in north- 
western Washington,* and has been found in a few Seminole songs. 
A tabulated analysis of 1,553 songs recorded among widely sepa- 
rated tribes of Indians shows these 9 songs ending on the second, 
1 ending on the sixth, 71 regarded as irregular (without apparent key- 
note), and the remainder ending on a tone having a chord-relationship 
to the keynote. 

No explanation has been offered for the ending of songs on the tone 
above the keynote in other tribes, but we note that the duration of 
certain dances among the Choctaw was said to be the time of dancing 
around the circle. This would terminate the song arbitrarily. An 
Indian believed to have been a Choctaw said, "the singing can stop at 
any time." In view of these circumstances, the ending of a rendition 
on the tone above the keynote is regarded as an indeterminate ending. 
It is as though the singer wished to indicate that the singing could 
be continued through other renditions of the song. 

A secand voice recorded. — At the suggestion of Lysander Tubby, a 
second voice, or "part," was recorded with a few of his songs to show 
the manner in which other voices join that of the leader. Gus Willis 
was present and consented to sing this "second part," beginning after 
Tubby and continuing in unison with him. The songs in which he 
sang with Tubby are Nos. 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 33, and 35. His voice 
blended with Tubby's so completely that his entrance could not be 
discerned on the phonograph record, but notes were made during the 
performance, stating that Willis entered on the fourth measure in 
No. 17 and at about the same point in the other songs. During the 
performance of No. 33, Willis omitted certain single tones, Tubby's 
voice being heard alone on those tones. Willis also sang the long 

* Densmore, 1032, Tabulated analysis, p. 36. The Nootka songs with this ending are 
Nos. 10, 19, and 20, songs of the potlatch ; Nos. 44 and 45, songs of the lightning dance with 
the Klokali ; No. 103, a war song; and No. 172, a Clayoquot song to calm the waves of the 
sea. The Quileute song Is No. 200, used in the treatment of the sick. 

435660—43 9 


tones in this song with a vibrato. From this it appears that the second 
voice may vary its performance without changing the melody. 
Willis, as stated, has been a leader of the singers at dances and is con- 
sidered an authority on the old musical customs. 


The oldest song ® in the present collection is probably the war song 
recorded by Sidney Wesley. In order to contact this interesting man, 
the writer went to his house, but he was not at home. The house 
was difficult to reach, and it was necessary to leave the car, walk 
through a ravine, and climb a hill on the opposite side. His house 
was closed, evidently having been unoccupied for some time. Return- 
ing to the car, Olman Comby, the interpreter, looked up the valley, 
and exclaimed, "There comes Wesley." A man was seen at a consider- 
able distance, making his way among the bushes and carrying a pack 
on his back and a large pail in one hand. As he came nearer, his 
white hair could be seen, blown back from his face. When he was 
within hailing distance, Comby called to him and, instead of going up 
the hill to his house, he crossed the ravine to where we were standing. 
Evidently he was disturbed about something, which he tried to explain 
in broken English. This failing, he changed to his native language 
and told the policeman that he had been trying to live with his 
daughter but she "would not control her children nor let him reprove 
them," so he was going back to live alone in his own little house. 

After this had been duly discussed, the matter of recording old 
songs was explained and he consented to sing, suggesting that the 
recording be done at the home of Mary Hickman, an active old woman 
living alone, near the Tucker Day School. An arrangement was made 
with her and the work began on the following day. In plate 16, 
figure 1, Wesley is seen approaching Mary Hickman's house, bringing 
a pair of striking sticks, which he has made for use as an accompani- 
ment to his songs. 

Mary Hickman is familiar with all the old ways. Her house (pi. 
16, fig. 2) has no windows and is warmed by a fireplace. The phono- 
graph was placed on a bench just inside the door and she sat on the 
porch with her sewing, where she could hear and see all that was 
said or done, and occasionally she was consulted by Wesley or the 
interpreter. The house was neat and quiet and the place, with its 
surroundings of tall pines, was admirably adapted to the work. The 
open door of tlie house is seen in the backgroimd of her portrait and 

* These songs were recorded by Columbia gramophone with special recordei-s and a spe- 
cially constructed horn. The speed of the apparatus when recording the songs and when 
playing them for transcription was 160 revolutions per minute. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 2.S] CHOCTAW MUSIC DENSMORE 123 

that of Wesley (pi. 10, figs. 1 and 2). Thirty songs were recorded 
by Wesley, 25 of which were transcribed. He selected the songs 
himself and gave an agreeable variety, which included songs of games, 
pastimes, and dances, as well as the war song which opens the series. 

Sidney Wesley and IVIary Hickman danced in the war dances when 
they were young. There were no wars at that time, but the war 
dances were held and some of the old songs were sung on those 

Two records of the first song were made, one containing the words 
''Hispanimi (Spanish) headman I am looking for," and the other sub- 
stituting "Folance" (French) for the reference to the Spaniards. 
Wesley did not know the meaning of either of these words, but sang 
the song as he learned it. The song had two more "verses," each 
containing the name of a different enemy. One verse mentioned a 
tribe of Indians that was not identified. A portion of the native 
name was said to mean horsefly, which was probably a term of 
contempt. The underscored syllables in the transcription are prob- 
ably parts of words whose meaning is lost. Both men and women 
sang in the war dances, and the songs were without instrumental 

The contact of the Choctaw with the Spanish, as stated, began 
about 1540. The French entered the region in the latter part of 
the seventeenth century and the relations between the Choctaw and 
the French were friendly until broken by English traders. The 
eastern Choctaw villages formed an alliance with the English, and 
war ensued between them and the Choctaw toward the west, who 
still adhered to the French. From this data it appears that the song 
originated with the Choctaw in Mississippi and that it is very old. 


No. 1. War Song 

Recorded by Sidney Wbslet 

[Bdll. 136 

(Catalog No. 2208) 

J: 63 


P-m m m 

riv^Mnrrrr^v ii ii'rrrrifCrii 



y^i|.pX/ L£J 


^H\\^UU,U-A\iUU, \ rK\^l 

His- pa-ni-mi go yo ho 11 

Analysis.^" — This melody is based on intervals, not on the relationship of 
tones to a keynote. The principal interval is a whole tone, occurring chiefly 
between A flat and B flat, next in frequency being the minor third between 
B flat and D flat. The keynote is regarded as D flat, which occurs as next to 
the highest tone, and the melody contains only this tone with its second and 

A group of four war songs was recorded by a man who learned 
them from an older brother. It was said that the first song was 
sung at the beginning of the preparations for war. No explanation 
could be obtained beyond the purpose suggested by the title. 

"These analyses are intended to call attention only to the principal peculiarities of the 
songs. More detailed descriptive analyses, as well as tabulated analyses, have been sub- 
mitted to the Bureau of American Ethnology. Small variations in repetitions of songs, if 
unimportant, are not mentioned in these analyses. The Choctaw singers, like the singers 
in other tribes, usually sing the major third, perfect fifth, and octave with good intonation, 
whether as direct or indirect (broken) intervals, and usually maintain the pitch level of a 
song throughout the renditions. The semitone is the most variable progression in Indian 

No. 2. "Begging for Gunpowder" Song 
Recorded by Lysandeb Tubby 


(Catalog No. 2366) 

Analysis. — ^A descending fourth followed by an ascending fourth characterizes 
this song, which is minor in tonality, with the keynote occurring as the highest 
tone of the compass. 

In the next song a man expresses his willingness to go with the 
war party and his confidence in his protective "medicine." 


No. 3. "I Am Going" 

Recorded by Lysandeb Tubby 


(Catalog No. 2367) 

J = 60 , , , 

'h r »f? i ^r If vFirf frKri i rrr r iitrr ^i 

m:rr( j\r yl^f rc!^ rf i rjrV^ 

Free translation 

I am going. (Repeated many times. ) 

My face is painted so they cannot see me. 

Analysis. — This interesting melody is based on the minor triad and minor 
seventh, with the tones occurring in descending order. Slight differences in the 
repetitions are shown, these occurring in the middle of the song, where changes 
most frequently occur in the melodic or rhythmic pattern of an Indian song. 
The ti'anscription is a semitone lower than the pitch of the rendition. As in 
similar instances, a. simpler signature is used when the pitch of the rendition 
would require six sharps or flats. 

Indians of all tribes ridiculed the men who would not go to war. 
The next song concerns two men who are arranging to rim away 
and evade their duty. One man was to go ahead and wait for the 
other at an appointed place, after which they would proceed together. 
The title was given by the singer. 


No. 4. "Slacker Song" 

Recorded by Lysandek Tubby 

lUULL. IHt! 

(Catalog No. 2368) 

J = 



rf ^\ r fl K -^M^ i ■ryfT^r ^i 

m^ mrytk ^ ^^ 


■■y^iii'KHr c nUj^ p 

m- » 

9 ' M m ^ 


Free translation 

I will tell you how we are going. 

When you get to that place you must wait for me. 

•Analysis. — As in No. 2, the keynote occurs only as the highest tone in this 
melody. The peculiar measure lengths were accurately repeated in all the 
renditions, also the length of the rests. This transcription contains a plus 
sign over several notes, showing the tone was slightly above the indicated 
pitch. This occurs also in Nos. 5, 22, 23, 25, 28, 36, and 38, and is used only 
when the deviation from pitch is persistent in all the renditions. 28] CHOCTAW MUSIC — DENSMORE 

The final song of the group celebrates a victory. 
No. 5. Victory Song 

J: 52 

Recorded by Lysaitdeb Tubby 


(Catalog No. 2369) 

'hK'i ) r^ 

J: 52 

^ ~ ritard 

aaviXa'^it7r^i[ _j£gj^^ i ^rg j^ 


Free translation 

Where I went along they saw my tracks, 

After I killed him they saw my tracks and cried. 

My headman told men to kill him, 

I killed him because my headman told me to, 

I hid in the bushes after killing him, but they came near seeing me. 

Analysis. — In contrast to the preceding war songs, the keynote of this melody 
is the lowest tone and is strongly emphasized. This gives an effect of iwsitive- 
ness that has been noted in songs of success in other tribes. A change to minor 
tonality is indicated by an accidental rather than by a change of signature. 


The playing of the ball game by the Choctaw is a contest of magic 
power as well as a contest of skill." Each group of players has its 
own medicine men who perform various acts to bring success to 
them and disaster to their opponents. These men are designated by 
a word commonly translated "witches," but they will be referred 
to as medicine men. 

. " "In general, in all Indian games, the arrow or the bow, or some derivative of them, is 
found to be the predominant Implement, and the conceptions of the four world-quarters the 
fundamental idea . . . Back of each game is found a ceremony in which the game was a 
significant part. The ceremony has commonly disappeared ; the game survives as an 
amusement, but often with traditions and observances which serve to connect it with its 
original purpose. The ceremonies appear to have been to cure sickness, to cause fertiliza- 
tion and reproduction of plants and animals, and, in the arid region, to produce rain 
. . . These observations hold true both of the athletic games as well as of the games of 
chance. The ball was a sacred object not to be touched with the hand, and has been 
identified as symbolizing the earth, the sun, or the moon" (Culin in Handbook of American 
Indians, 1907, vol. 1, p. 484). 


Two men were consulted on this subject. They are considered 
authorities on the game and live in different localities. Robert Henry 
lives at Bogue Chitto village and was consulted in his home (pi. 17, 
fig. 1), and Gus Willis lives at Pearl River. Both men recorded 
the song that is sung the night before a game, and a comparison of 
the two renditions is presented with the analysis of the song on 
page 131. Robert Henry also recorded the sounds of the whistles that 
are played before and during a game (see p. 129; also Whistle Melody, 
p. 130). The group at Henrj^'s house included Olman Comby, the 
interpreter (center), Robert Henry (at his left), members of Henry's 
family, and informants on the action of the ball game (pi. 17, fig. 2). 

Five or six medicine men were attached to each team of players, 
in former times, and each medicine man had two or three whistles, a 
drum, and a wand with some small object at the tip. Robert Henry 
remembered such a wand as having what looked like a red bird at 
its end. Its use was not described. The whistles are still used and 
are of different lengths, each having a different mark on one side. 

Each player has his own rackets, which are "fixed up" by the med- 
icine men to give success. In old days, the balls were made by the 
medicine men. It was said, "Some could make a ball that was sure 
to go straight," and a player would pay a medicine man to make 
such a ball. This custom has passed away and at present a ball has 
an ordinary rubber ball as its core. A pair of rackets and a ball 
were transferred to the writer and are in the possession of the United 
States National Museum. The ball is covered with a lattice of 
narrow strips of buckskin. (Pis. 18, fig. 2; 21, fig. 1.) 

Before a game the players lay their rackets on the ground and 
one of their medicine men inspects them. Both Robert Henry and 
Olman Comby saw this done by an old man named Silwis. A medi- 
cine man may put "good medicine" on the rackets of his team of 
players, and he watches for a chance to put "bad medicine" on the 
rackets of the opponents, so their balls will "go crooked." A medi- 
cine man attached to one side may go to the goal posts of the opponents 
and "spoil their game," so it is part of the duty of the medicine men 
to keep the opposing medicine men from coming near their goal 

On the night before a ball game, the whistles are blown by the medi- 
cine men, there is "talking" in which it is asserted that "You are going 
to win the game," and the song for success is sung. The whistles are 
blown during a game, and the medicine men beat on their drums, but 
there is no singing while the game is in progress. The sound of the 
whistles during a game was referred to as "the noise made by the 

One of the medicine men gives the signal for beginning the game. 
Each has a ball of a different color and one of them is appointed 


to give the signal, which he does by tossing up his ball. The players 
hold a racket in each hand and are not allowed to touch the ball 
with their hands. Bob Henry posed with the crossed rackets (pi. 
19). Three young Choctaw posed a "scrimmage" in the game (pi. 
18, fig. 3). The purpose, as in similar ball games, is to throw the 
ball between the opponent's goal posts. ^- The details of the play and 
its score are not of present interest. During a game, the medicine 
men take turns in standing near the goal posts of their respective 
teams, to prevent the approach of the opposing medicine men who, 
it is believed, will cause disaster by means of evil magic. 

» • 

• V 


Figure 3. — Design on whistle. 

The blowing of cane whistles by the medicine men before and during 
a ball game has been mentioned. Robert Henry has three of these 
whistles, which he is accustomed to use at the game, and he recorded 
the sound of each, playing one after another in rapid succession. 
Each whistle had its special marking. The first was 121/^ inches in 
length and etched (burned) with the design shown in figure 3. The 

''"The [racket] game may be divided Into two principal classes — first, those in which a 
single racltet or bat is used ; second, those in which two racljeta are employed. The latter 
Is peculiar to the southern tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Muskogee, Seminole), among whom 
the single racket is not recorded . . . The goals were commonly two sets of posts or poles 
erected at the extremities of the field, between which the ball had to be driven . . . Among 
the Choctaw the goals were connected by a pole at the top." (Culin, 1907, pp. 562, 563.) 

A variation of this game among the Choctaw of Louisiana was witnessed by Bushnell in 
1909 and described by him. "No rackets were used, the ball being caught In the hands and 
thrown or held while the player endeavored to reacli his opponent's goal." (Bushnell, 
1909, p. 20.) 



[BULL. 136 

second is shown in plate 20, figure 1, and is in the possession of the 
United States National Museum. This and the third whistle were 11 
inches in length. The third whistle was etched with Robert Henry's 
personal mark (fig. 4). The performance on the second whistle was 
transcribed, the others being studied and found to contain the same 
melody. The pitch of the first whistle was a semitone lower than the 

Figure 4.— Robert Henry's personal design on whistle. 

transcription. The pitch of the third was a whole tone higher than 
the transcription. The length of the whistle was the same, but the 
fingerholes were spaced differently. As shown in the portrait of 
Robert Henry blowing the whistle (pi. 20, fig. 2), the first finger of 
each hand was placed over a sound hole, the middle finger of the 
player's left hand being placed between the two sound holes. 

Whistle Melody 

Recorded by Robehjt Heney 

(Catalog No. 2383) 

The song that was sung the night before a ball game, to give success 
to the players, was recorded by two men. 28] CHOCTAW MUSIC DENSMORE 

No. 6. Song for Success in the Ball Game 
Recorded by Eobekt Henry 

Jr 84 


(Catalog No. 2263) 

. ^i ----' 1 ^-- 

f* r- 

A A -> 




HXJ— - 









"1 I 

vl„it ££; ;t -.^^^U^JL!^^ 



Duplicate of No. 6 

Recorded by Gus Wnxis 

(Catalog No. 2266) 

Voice J = 60 

Striking sticks J = 60 

See rhythm of striking sticks below 

Rhythm of striking sticks 

Analysis. — ^This melody is almost an incantation, in its simplicity of melody 
and rhythm. Two renditions are presented, each by a man regarded as an 
authority on the ball game. The essential rhythm and melody are the same, 
with a variation that seems permissible among the Choctaw. In both renditions 
the only descending progressions are whole tones. Both renditions have a 
compass of a major third. Frequent rests occur in the rendition by Henry, 
dividing the melody into phrases, but the rendition by Willis, lasting 20 seconds, 
was simg without a pause for breath, • ;. 


The events of the night before a ball game included dancing by 
both men and women. This is described as follows by Catlin (1913, 
vol. 2, pp. 142, 143) : 

The ground having been all prepiired and preliminaries of the game all 
settled, and the bettings all made, and goods all "staked," night came on 
without the app(>arance of any players on the ground. But soon after dark, 
a procession of liglited flambeaux was seen coming from each encampment, 
to the ground where the players assembled around their respective byes; and 
at the beat of the drums and chants of the women, each party of players 
commenced the "ball-play dance." Each party danced for a quarter of an hour 
around their respective byes, in their liall-play dress; rattling their ball sticks 
together in the most violent manner, and all singing as loud as they could raise 
their voices; whilst the women of tach party, who had their goods at stake, 
formed into two rows on the line between the two parties of players, and 
danced also, in a uniform step, and all their voices joined in chants to the 
Gn^at Spirit- in which they were soliciting his favor in deciding the game to 
their advantage; and also encouraging the players to exert every power they 
possessed, in the struggle that was to ensue. 

A group of Choctaw posed with u})lifted rackets as shown in the 
drawing by Catlin (1913, vol. 2, pi. 224), but the action was not 
explained at the time. 


Many tribes of Indians have games in which an object is hidden 
by one group of players, the opponents guessing where it is con- 
cealed. In some tribes the object is hidden in a cane tube or wooden 
container, but the more familiar form of the hidden-ball game is 
that in which the object is hidden under a moccasin. Among the 
Chippewa and Sionx this is called the moccasin game. Four moc- 
casins are laid in a row on the ground and a bullet is placed under 
each moccasin, one bullet being marked. The opponents guess the 
location of the marked bullet (Densmore, 1929, pp. 114, 115). Ac- 
cording to Culin, "the game was borrowed by the whites and played 
by them under the name of 'bullet'" (Culin. 1907, p. 339). Among 
the Choctaw this is called the bullet game and the manner of play 
is similar to the Chippewa moccasin game except that folded hand- 
kerchiefs are used instead of moccasins. 

Four handkerchiefs of the sort commonly used were obtained and 
Wesley folded them in the customary manner (pi. 21, fig. 2). The 
shape is riot unlike that of a moccasin and they can be turned or 
tossed aside easily by the man making the guess. This man holds 
a long stick with which he turns one after another until he finds 
the marked bidlet. It appears that only one bullet was formerly 
used by the Choctaw. Wesley said "the old chief dreamed about 
hiding a bullet under four handkerchiefs; afterward they painted 
the bullets with different colors." After this had been done, the 
game probably consisted in locating the bullet of a certain color. 

Anthrop. Pap. Nu. 28] CHOCTAW MUSIC — DENSMORE 


Twenty-four counters or score sticks are used. The manner of 
keeping the score is apart from present consideration, but it is 
possible to make four by a correct guess, that number of counters 
being handed to the correct guesser by the man who hid the bullet. 
When a correct guess has been made the singing stops. The words 
of the next song were said to mean, "I will guess so well that I will 
make four at once." Tliis is an assertion of success, but the 
words of the song show us the defeated opponent, handing four 
counters to the successful guesser. The songs of the bullet game 
are without instrumental accompaniment. There seem to have been 
few songs with this game, as both Wesley and Tubby said the song 
they recorded was the only one used during a bullet game. 

No. 7. Bullet Game Song (a) 

Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

(Catalog No. 2202) 

J= 144 

(1) (1) 

=^ 'w^------~-^=f=^'^-^=^'^--^-^^ 

■'^M X 1 U -] U^ — ^- ' ^ -t — i—te-^^^— ^ 




-n ^^ 


— 1 

r^ |» [Pi 

fp . 

--^^ — L_ 


r ^ 1 u ii n 



— L 








Urlr'r^^ ^^^ 

^ ^fe ^ 

nirinnnrr^ m 

Free translation. — Here are four counters. 

Analysis.— The chief interest of tliis song is in the thematic treatment of 
the opening phrase. This is evident throughout the melody and is the more 
Interesting as Wesley is not accustomed to singing these old songs at the present 



No. 8. Bullet Game Song (b) 

Recorded by Gus Wuxis 

[Bull. 1S6 

(Catalog No. 2270) 

J : 144 

Irregular in tonality 



3q?-4M-v \r=r=fr^ 




The next song was intended to confuse the opponents, so they could 
not guess correctly. 

No. 9. Bullet Game Song (c) 

Recorded by Lysandee Tubby 

(Catalog No. 2371) 


= 63 

r/¥tf2ii-T r r c^ T -if f w » 'eL J c^j- 

nh^ ff rj> ir n^ ^\r rr^^ 

Analysis. — The songs of a hidden ball game have been recorded in several tribes 
and are characterized by a small compass, short phrases, and a style that is 
somewhat exclamatory. The present melodies are examples of this style. 

Tick Dance 

It has been said concerning the Choctaw that, "What they lack 
in ceremonialism they seem to have made up for in social leasts and 
dances (Cusliman, 1899, p. 221)." The songs of thirteen dances were 
recorded in coimection with the present work and no mention was 
made of ceremonial action with any of them. This, however, was not 
a subject of special inquiry. 

Bushnell states, 

The Clioctaw living at Bayou Lacomb have one dance ceremony, which is in 
reality a series of seven distinct dances, performed in rotation and always 
in the same order. [Bushnell, 1909, pp. 20-22, pis. 21, 22.] 

These dances are Man dance, Tick dance, Drunken-man dance. Duck 
dance, Dance Go-and-come, and Snake dance. The songs of the Tick, 
Drunken-man, Duck, and Snake dances are presented in the order 
assigned them by this authority. The songs of the three other dances 
were not recorded, though it is possible that further inquiry might 28] CHOCTAW MUSIC — DENSMORE 135 

identify them with recorded songs. At a dance attended by the writer, 
at Pearl River on the Choctaw reservation, the order of dances was 
as follows — Tick dance. Steal-partner dance, Bear dance, and Snake 
dance. These were followed by the Stomp dance, which was given 
by request. The dancing was outdoors at night, by the light of a 
fire at one side of the dance circle. 

The leader of the singing may dance, if he is a young man, taking 
his place at the head of the long line of dancers. If he is an older man 
he "just sings," standing in the middle of the dance circle. The infor- 
mation on the number of singers with all the dances is not entirely 
clear, but it was said that the leader sings alone in the Quail and 
Chicken dances, that only the men sing in the Stomp dance, and that 
everyone sings in the Tick, Steal-partner, Snake, and War dances. 
The leader begins the song, followed after a short phrase by the others, 
the women singing an octave above the men. If striking sticks are 
used, the leader is the only man who provides this accompaniment. 
The dances with this accompaniment, as stated, are the Bear, Quail. 
Duck, Terrapin, Turkey, Chicken, and Pleasure dances. 

Tick Dance 

Men, women, and children take part in this dance and all join 
in the singing. Wesley said they form in a long line with the men in 
advance and move slowly, the step consisting in advancing the left 
foot, bringing the right foot to a position beside it and standing for 
a moment on both feet before again going forward. To this descrip- 
tion Bushnell adds a statement that — 

When they take the forward step they stamp with the right foot, as if 
crushing ticks on the ground, at the same time looking down, supposedly at 
the doomed insects." 

This dance has many songs, all being sung without accompaniment. 

" Busbnell, 1909, pp. 20-22. A song of the Tick dance is presented in musical notation 
and the action of other dances is described. 


No. 10. Tick Dance Song (a) 

Recorded by Sidnet Wesley 

[Bdll. 136 
(Catalog No. 2200) 


a ^=mH f ^-gfffi^ii:i r [ricrpvr n ^m 


^4 rr cnia rp. ; t^:ffl^^r7irrrrr ii !j:Sga 

Analysis. — The rhythm of this melody is strongly marked, this quality of the 
melody taking the place of an instrumental accompaniment. The interest of the 
rhythm centers in the slight variations of the rhythmic unit which produce 
a swaying effect. The first and second occurrences of the unit begin with a 
descending progression and the third and fourth occurrences begin with an 
ascending progression, which produces an effect of swaying. The song has a 
compass of five tones and contains only the tones of the minor triad and fourth. 

No. 11. Tick Dance Song (b) 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

A A 


(Catalog No. 2201) 

.v^rriiiirFrf ii ;rnrrr i rrrirvir[TH 

-ifc— l-g-g-^-SL- l*,-^l»»«^. IJ--,^ g— 1 

;2LJ _!!z ^ p^ 1 ^f'^ M ---^ -1 


B -^ 

n\ p i n c /r^ rrirH nn'P^' 




I J: 132 

J:120 A 

^a f ir r ir/ [ jinnrrr ir ^fiM*^ i" P^^C f" 


yj f ir/prrtf If e f [r^^r ii^ r p i r^ i rrp> 

J : 120 

B '^^ J: 132 

I J:132 

Jzl20 A 

^^^ irW f ?t^ ii ^r-Mrr & [; 



. r 

y r L?i f ^ iii fc ci'r' 1 1^ ' p i rvi crp ^ crif i crpii 

Analysis. — This song is the first example of the period formation described 
on page 118. The second jieriod is distinguished by changes of tempo and phrases 
containing small count-divisions. Two descending, over-lapping fourths occur 
frequently, these being C-G and A-E, but the principal interval in the frame- 
work of the melody is the minor third between E and G. A minor third comprises 
38 of the 65 intervals. 

435660—43 10 


No. 12. Tick Dance Song (c) 
Recorded by Sidnett Wesixt 


FBULL. 136 

(Catalog No. 2210) 




-f^-^'^^ pf^ 


-IHh^Vf »»^I9 

^^1?' |/ X- 




-^Ss — 


Analysis. — This resembles the song next preceding in its period formation. The 
phrases in period A are long and contain two rythmic units. Period B contains 
frequent short rests and no rhythmic unit. A whole tone is the most frequent 
interval of progression. The pitch was gradually raised a semitone during the 
singing of this song, a mannerism occurring in no other performance by the 
Choctaw. It occurs frequently in Pueblo songs and is given extended consider- 
ation in Music of Santo Domingo Pueblo (Densmore, 1938, pp. 52-54) ; also in 
unpublished material on songs of Acoma, Isleta, and Cochiti Pueblos and the 
Seminole (mss. in Bur. Amer. Ethnol.). 



J = 132 

No. 13. Tick Dance Song (d) 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

(1) (2) 

(Catalog No. 2215) 





^ ^=f=tf^P ^ fH 4f^ f f = f 


(3) (2) (3) 

Analysis. — The emphatic rhythm of this song, together with the rise and fall 
of the melody, takes the place of an instrumental accompaniment. The song con 
tains no change of measure length, thus maintaining a steady rhythm. Three 
rhythmic units occur. The second and third units differ in only one tone, but this 
difference was given with distinctness. The melody lies partly above and partly 
below the keynote, and contains only the tones of the minor triad and fourth. 

Another song of this dance, recorded by Wesley but not transcribed, 
was difficult to translate. The interpreter first said the words meant, 
''My friend, this song is going away mocking me," and added that the 
second word was literally "people," but understood to mean "friend," 
also that the word translated "mocking" did not carry any unpleasant 
meaning, but could also be translated "imitating." There was consid- 
erable discussion and it developed that reference was being made to the 
phonograph which would repeat the sound of Wesley's voice. The 
final translation appeared to be addressed to the phonograph and was 
as follows, "My friend, when you go away you will sing like I sing." 
In another tribe a singer referred to the phonograph as a personality 
saying, "How did it learn the song so quick? That is a hard song." 

Lysander Tubby, who recorded many songs of this dance, said that, 
at a dance, each song is sung three times, this series being called "once 
through the song," after which another song is started. Tubby is 
leader of the singers at Pearl River, where the writer witnessed this 
dance. The leader started each song and after two or three measures 
the men took up the melody, followed, after about the same time, by 
the women singers. 


No. 14. Tick Dance Song (e) 
Recorded by Lysander Tubby 

[Bull. 130 

(Catalog No. 2357) 

Jr 80 




•Ah. ^r ^i rrr rF'irrr p'^i^^fe^i'^fi^ 

W\. r CTP^ i r rrr i rcTFtf i^'^ i mT^ 

■^'' i - c /cr r" 




•Ah.r c/r 

I r 

V''\ Lrz s^ ^» 


» Ml ■ #■ 

Analysis. — This song has a compass of 11 tones, which is the largest in the 
Choctaw songs. It is based chiefly on the major triad with an emphasis on E 
in the lower octave. 

No. 15. Tick Dance Song (f) 

Recorded by Lysandeb Txjbby 

(Catalog No. 2358) 

J= 80 


m !» 

^^m ^= ^ ^ 

m p 


^^ SHtJ^f-^^fE T T l U LZl 


v'" r r i ^fC/^i P ^ i £r-[/H ir Cj- i e^ pi 



LT P^Fl Ltfi 

Lj i Lrr 

ji g rp 

Analysis. — Only the tones of a minor third and fourth occur in this song. The 
general trend is a descending fourth followed by an ascending and descending 
minor third. This transcription contains a minus sign over one note, showing 
the tone was slightly below the indicated pitch in all the renditions. Other songs 
containing this sign are Nos. 17, 36, and 38. 

No. 16. Tick Dance Song (g) 

Recorded ]\v Lysanber TtreBT 

J: 84 



(Catalog No. 2370) 

nyj cunuf r r' nji ' p i iar^ ^ 


-1 r 


1 r 


rirr^'i ^T 

\ ?,h g y 




APb''i> r f p'^i[ j'^ i F_r(LfifL rp^ir ^ 



jgAa^mt^^^ ffl'r ii is r p k c;r ic rr ^ ^ 


-^F'^ i iL rn rfTncrcT i f TP^ i r'^i c rr-i ' 

Analysis. — This melody is based on intervals, not on the relationship of tones 
to a keynote. As in similar songs, the signature is used for convenience in show- 
ing the pitch of the tones, not as an indication of key in the musician's use of 
that term. Three descending fourths form the framework of the melody. In the 
order of occurrence there are A flat-E flat, B flat-F, and E flat-B flat. 

In this and the two songs next following a second singer joined, as 
the dancers would join the leader in singing. 

No. 17. Tick Dance Song (h) 

,' (Catalog No. 2374) 

Recorded by Lysander Tubby and Gus Wiujs 


I 1 

P I P f^ 

"r nr rr i i^r i ^ 



k nr rr \J^i-Mf=\^ 



i> [g ' ^ I r *' T t^ 

gir \Ii-r ifTJ ^ 



[Bull. l?.fi 

Analysis. — The keynote and fifth are the most prominent tones in this melody. 
The tone transcribed as G sharp was clearly sung, also the augmented second 
which follows. Gus Willis joined with Tubby in this song to show the manner 
in which other singers join the leader. His voice entered on the fourth measure 
and continued in unison with Tubby's. Other songs in which Willis joined are 
Nos. 18, 19, 25, 26, 33, and 35. This "second part" is not indicated in the 
transcriptions (cf. p. 121). 

No. 18. Tick Dance Song (i) 

(Catalog No. 2375) 
Recorded bv Lysander Tubby and Gr? Win is 


z 80 









(1) (1) 

2 ^' JK r - t^-ff- 


/j\ I'ine 

?V'i.i Ni Lri ^g^^E^ 




WrTrr i 

-^^-f— F 

No. 19. Tick Dance Song (j) 

(Catalog No. 2376) 
Recorded by Lysanuesi Tubby and Gus Wnxis 

Jr 63 

„ fit 

^ ■) 

v^i'i.-i r/ Cf P 7 Uf r r r r i ri r^ r r r ^^ 

r 104 

: 63 


^^^^^ ^gff^£ y^-^ ^^5a 







= 104 






nyfeTFrrrirciTui qt ^ \\im p& 



Analysis. — With the exception of one tone, each of these melodies lies within 
the compass of a fifth and its principal tones are those of a major triad. A ma- 
jority of the intervals are descending progressions, and the performance ended 
on the tone above the keynote. 

The next song was explained as follows : "In this song a man says he 
has danced so much that he has lost his wife but he don't mind it." 


No. 20. Tick Dance Song (k) 

Recorded by Olman Comby 

J : 66 


(Catalog No. 2352) 

^ m ^ ^ri-^m^ ^ mifrr^^hfrT^ ^i 

mht ^ ^^^mu z^ wi nm 


^n c f fflTT^ ^fygfe a £ga ^ 

nh J^J >iia^r i^^ir J^ ii ii ^ >>i'i i 

Analysis. — This melody as recorded by Olman Comby is more melodious and 
less rhythmic than the six preceding versions of the Tick dance song sung by 
Lysander Tubby. Comby is an Indian policeman at the agency and expressed 
familiarity with Choctaw customs in other localities. The tonality of this song 
is major but the minor third below the keynote is a prominent interval. The 
descent to this tone produces a minor triad with minor seventh, the tones being 
in descending order. In structure the song may be said to consist of two over- 
lapping triads, the upper being major and the lower being minor. The soug has 
a compass of an octave and lies partly above and partly below the keynote. 

Deunken-man Da_nck 

No information was obtained concerning this dance among the 
Choctaw. Several songs of a dance with the same name were recorded 
among the Seminole in Florida and the Seminole informant said the 
name did not give a correct impression. He said the dancers acted as 
though they were happy and exuberant — so happy that they appeared 
as though intoxicated, but that there was no idea of actual drunkenness 
in the minds of the Indians." A song of this dance, in musical nota- 
tion, is presented by Buslmell (1909, p. 21), who describes the dance as 
follows : 

Two lines facing each other are formed by the dancers, who lock arms. The 
lines slowly approach, then move backward, and then again approach. All 
endeavor to keep step, and during the dance all sing. 

An example of the songs is presented, following this description. 

■* Unpublished material, Bureau of American Ethnology. 


J = 



No. 21. Drunken-man Dance Song (a) 

Recorded by Robert Henby 

J: 100 

[BCLL. 136 

(Catalog No. 2355) 

J : 115 

')^H 'u \ irr\\''P\\' i i -ircrrrr ii zrrrirr; 



^^1* cr> 11 1 rcr[gr i rrrH i r:ir [ f i rrr,#£PfFP| 

No. 22. Drunken-man Dance Song (b) 

Recorded by Lysandeb Tubby 

(Catalog No. 2363) 






1 r 

(2) (1) (1) 

1 1 1 1 1 :=:^ 

\^\? ^iLA ir p^ir rr ilj r 1 1 r.r " -n^ 

(3) (2) (3) (1) 

i ^ 1 1 ^ 11 i 1 

-*K — ■ — p~i»- 0pm — f 9 P *--P — ^^-c- p P P f»(>yt* #■)» 
l-^l^ 1 -3^-rr=4s£:-S — gE=:„:rE,--H— ^ 


T r 



r^'U' C r^ i r rr 

f pvir r. r i r.r-f^ 

No. 23. Drunken -man Dance Song (c) 

Recorded by Ltsander Tubbt 
Jr 100 

(1) i?) 


(Catalog No. 2364) 


( »■ PP 


p^ i i^rju-ir [J 


(3) (1) 

iyM77r i r7r"ir r ir rrfirr^ S 



r3 | j i ? 7 

I ;:- + 






1 r 





1 r-_ + 

yMf Qiiii p7|f^^[^*if^p 



<» • i» 

y¥ r./ci!r I r.ff ^ I r ^ i fLf^ i r «^ i «i ^ 


p r'i'FTi^ 


^fet Pf>f 

1 r" 






— J. . 

-Ui-l — 


'U U 1 




^ f rU z fis \ ^ ^ \ ^ pv i criuir i r a ' H i ^rii 



No. 24. Drunken-man Dance Song (d) 

Recorded by Ltsandeb Tubby 

[Bull. 136 

(Catalog No. 2365) 


^A'l>:i r__ -t— L=-+ — :^-r:^ h3=-^-— ^-^ 


— 1^ 


g— a» » p 

L. LJ 


m TtT^'^^ 







No. 25. Drunken-man Dance Song (e) 


(Catalog No. 2379) 
Recorded by Ltsandeb Ttjbbt and Gus Willis 

J= 96 


■ » 



m — ^ 

» ' 

J^r C J I FJ* [^ r 


1 r 

^m qr r cncr^ ^ 

jg. i» p 

gK"ii 1^ 1 * ^ 

rrnt fcr i rrf^ 

m m ai u se 



f % v M r |W r fs> ( • » j p p p I p i^^p "! * 1 1 * P ff I P I* P f* I P " P P ' il 

"•^tf C/cfr 7 r QTrTT^tTfi^lf-tr 

f^yi7Tnn7 rTmzi rfr.r i r rr i r r^ ^ 


No. 26. Drunken-man Dance Song (f) 

(BDLt.. 130 

(Catalog No. 2380) 
Recorded by Ltsandeb Tubbt and Gus Wnxis 



w ^^ ^ ^^ ^r^ ^^ ^ m^rr^^m r np^ « 

No. 27. Drunken-man Dance Song (g) 
Recorded by Ltsandeb Tubbt 

(Catalog No. 2381) 


.^^jtiiiij^ rrr\rrr l l -irC/r n 

» • •■ il 

. ^ ^"ii" ii r;r p in r ■> i rfrifffTm^mr ^^ 

Wt ry^^itrgi^i^r i rr r i r rn^^^ 

I r 

'^^ i ii'ii r H ^^f fWHWfllaiH4ff^^ 

No. 28. Drunken-man Dance Song (h) 
Recorded by Ltsandeb Tubbt 

(Catalog No. 2382) 

Ir 60 

^A^ r 


ir'rr r 


■ ■ 

Analysis. — The Drunken-man dance songs (Nos. 21-28) are simple and do 
not require detailed analysis. A majority of 'he melodies are based on a 


major or minor triad and the count divisions consist chiefly of quarter and 
eighth notes. A nota legato occurs in Nos. 23 and 26, and a swaying effect 
is given by the melody and rhythm of No. 26, a melody lying partly above and 
partly below the keynote. The melodic material of No. 26 consists of a tone 
(regarded as the keynote) with a minor third above and a whole tone below 
that tone. In No. 27 the only tones are a keynote with its minor third and 
fourth. The keynote in No. 28 is F, but the third above that tone does not 
occur. This song contains a more varied rhythm than other songs of this 

Duck Dance 

The action of this dance appears to consist of two parts, each 
imitating the ducks. The dancers are in couples, two men holding 
hands and facing two women who also hold each other's hands. The 
men raise their hands and the women stoop and pass underneath, 
this being "like ducks going under water." The women are then 
face-to-face with two other men who, in turn, raise their hands and 
the women again "dive" underneath. It was also said that the 
dancers slip their feet back and forth, at first slowly and then faster 
until the motion is a "fast shuffle." The singer leads in the motion. 
In songs of the Duck dance and the Quail dance the tempo was 
gradually increased, to correspond with the motion that has been 
described. This change is not shown in the transcription. The 
songs of this dance were accompanied by the striking of sticks. 
Wesley made these and brought them with him when coming to 
record songs on the second day (cf. p. 122 and pi. 16, fig. 1). 

In describing the Duck dance, Bushnell says (1909, p. 21) : 

Partners are required in this dance also; they form two lines, facing. The 
peculiar feature is that two partners pass under the arms of another couple, 
as shown in plate 21. The dancers endeavor to imitate the motion of a duck 
in walking, hence the name of the dance. 


J= 76 


No. 29. Duck Dance Song (a) 

Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

[Bull. 136 

(Catalog No. 2203) 

■irrrwi^crrtfrrir fr ^ ^ ^ 

"^n i^ l i! - ! nmi^^i r .^ ''i° rrir ^ 

^^^^ij^e^via^git^ a ^-g tf^ a 

tj-rj^i Lr /rixj'Lr^/ii'' '^mQ:;^ 


Analysis. — The principal interval in this song is the major third from G to 
B, followed by a descent to D in some measures and to E in others. Thus the 
tonality seems to waver between major and minor. With a single exception 
the rhythmic unit occurs on one series of tones, suggesting the repetition of 
a single motion in the dance. The opening phrase is energetic, the rhythmic 
unit is brisk, and the whole song is lively and interesting. 

No. 30. Duck Dance Song (b) 

Recorder! by Gus Willis 

Voice J = 132 

Striking sticks J = 132 

See rhythm of striking sticks below 


(Catalog No. 22G9) 

T r 


^^'^ ^ VJ 1 ! =«— J 1 1 — L_.^5_L 

-I r 

■•;='* i/r i rr if -T fir r ^ ^^^ nrtrrp 

jg ant. 

n r 

j^iiLrrirrir^ f tiyTicrrirT 



1 1 r— 1 

t t:ii» U 19 ft ^ 1 ^ — at j i> » 1 1 (P l» l» 1 w — » 1 y a 1 1 

-^^ i-l i Mi; /-i--U.-U-— 1 j_f.-p_^ 

T T- 

A ^ ML ffl-LJ 







» a ? 


jg a# 

T r 

E ^^T^^TE i mm^Mtffr ^ 

Rhythm of striking sticks 
^<L^ v^^ ^^jv^ 

Analysis. — Repetitions of the rhythmic unit constitute this entire melody, with 
the progressions alike on the second and alternate phrases. These suggest a 
major triad, while the first phrase and alternate phrases are based on a minor 
triad. The tone material is that of the fourth 5-toned scale,'* and about two- 
thirds of the intervals are whole tones. The striking sticks are in the same 
meter as the voice, but each stroke slightly preceded the voice, as though hasten- 
ing it. 

Snake Dance 

This is last of the dances named in prescribed order by Bushnell, 
and was fourth in order of the dances seen by the writer. The dance 
is common to many tribes and has been seen, by the writer, among 
the Winnebago and Menominee in Wisconsin. Men and women take 
part in the dance, holding hands in a long line and following a leader. 

" See footnote to table 6, p. 186. 



(BULL. 136 

At first they move in sinuous curves, then in a wide circle that gradu- 
ally narrows until the dancers are in a compact mass with the leader in 
the middle. By a series of clever maneuvers, he then unfolds the line 
of dancers until they are again in a long line. The latter part of this 
performance differs from the description by Bushnell which repre- 
sents the custom among the Choctaw at Bayou Lacomb, La.^^ The 
songs among the Choctaw of Mississippi are without instrimiental 
accompaniment. Snake dance songs recorded among the Seminole 
were also without accompaniment. 

No. 31. Snake Dance Song (a) 

Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

(Catalog No. 2204) 

(1) , 


-1=66 ^ jilZ_ 1 

p — 1 



















J:. 152 

(1) (2) (2) . (2) 





'^^HrMiirrVMarrffverrviT: ^^ 

" In the snake dance "the dancers form in a single line, either grasping hands or each 
holding on to the shoulder of the dancer immediately in front. First come the men, then 
the women, and lastly the boys and girls, if any are to dance. The first man in the line is 
naturally the leader ; he moves along in a serpentine course, all following. Gradually he 
leads the dancers around and around until the line becomes coiled, in form resembling 
a snalie. Soon the coil becomes so close it is imijossible to move farther ; thereupon the 
participants release their hold on one another and cease dancing. As will be seen, the song 
belonging to this dance is very simple, but it is rei>eated many, many times, being sung 
during the entire time consumed by the dance, said to be an hour or more" (Bushnell, 1909, 
pp. 21, 22, and pi. 22). A song of this dance, in musical notation, is presented by Bushnell, 
also illustrations showing the action of the dancers. 

A-MHttoi-. txif. No. 28 1 CHOCTAW AlUSlC DENSMORE 

No. 32. Snake Dance Song (b) 

Recorded by Lysandee Tubby 
J =63 


(Catalog No. 2373) 

niijA » ^ 

rrr B LrQ. J i i i^flrr a 


'hvr r Q^ J^ V II ^ r F / r-M.^^ ^ 

Fine 7 iirnes 

5 times 

Analysis. — These two songs (Nos, 31, 32), recorded by different singers, are 
practically the same in the first portion but differ in the second portion which 
was repeated an indefinite number of times in the dancing. The first song is 
the more interesting and contains a change of tempo. The second song main- 
tains the original tempo and was sung by the customary leader of the dance. 
The original tempo and pitch are about the same in the two songs. As in many 
other Choctaw songs, the framework is that of a triad with the third as the 
highest tone. 

The following dances are not mentioned by Bushnell. The Steal- 
partner, Bear, and Stomp dances were witnessed by the writer. 

Steax-pajstneb Dance 

Men and women took part in this dance, and Wesley said "they 
dance a long time with the first partner and then change to the 
second." No further description was obtained. The songs are with- 
out instrumental accompaniment. 

485660 — 4a 




No. 33. Steal-partner Dance Song (a) ! 

(Catalog No. 2377) 
Recorded by Lysandes Tubby and Gus Willis 


.1» f» 



^h^i' 'i c/ r p r ii ■[tWFfyjnn^ m 









EP'^Hiir L cri i ^ 



B^ j^ | y 






:80 ^(1) 

Wnw-rrrrr i r i -Qprrrrrii^rp i r ^^ 



jn!4>n rr r rnjj rncrnnrrirr i iiirp ii sr^ir rn 



^^^^^a ffT^ irrri^^ftttrrg i^ 

Translation. — I am stealing from you. You are not trying to get it back. 

Analysis.— A change of tonality from major to minor without a change of 
keynote occurs in this song and is indicated in the transcription. The descend- 
ing fourth is prominent throughout the melody. 



No. 34. Steal-partner Dance Song (b) 
Recorded by Lysandeb Tubby 

(Catalog No. 2359) 

•>*"'; i i f rrir_r p 




No. 35. Steal-partner Dance Song (c) 

(Catalog No. 2378) 
Recorded by Ltsandeb Tttbbt and Gus Wnxis 

J= 80 ^ 


f^>C;rMCr[TrTrfr i rrrirMri^ ^ 


•n[jrir ' i i [j' r r i r r ■■w'i i^ ^ 

No. 36. Steal-partner Dance Song (d) 

Recorded by LYSANDEa Tubby 

(Catalog No. 2360) 

= 92 


£i^f^4^[jT ir^ 

-'■ ^^ " "f '[f L ff%ff r' l' ^ '^ r ir cT 11 '^ r'^Cr"' ^^"^ 

No. 37. Steal-partner Dance Song (e) 

Recorded by Lysandee Tubby 

(Catalog No. 2361) 


-n^'r C/ i rrr in-i- ii :r r^ i^ 

^rjp-Mf cj i ^rr iir rric/r ni ^pi 

/'i « e 



No. 38. Steal-partner Dance Song (0 

Recorded by Lysandeb Tubby 

fBrLL. 1301 

(Catalog No. 2362)' 


1 — 


'-^^r.rcj' i r rr i iiur rr^ r i rir^'i 








i mrrPEr n rr g 


P P f i 

-^^-^^ — ^«-=s — s-»-^^-'-^-= — ■- 

E = ^1 

A?ia%sts.— The first song of this group (Nos. 34-38) begins with a minor third 
and is clearly minor in tonality, but the others begin with a major third, followed 
by a descent of a minor third completing a minor triad. Nos. 35, 36, and 37 
were recorded on the same day, with several renditions of each, and No. 38 was 
recorded a few days later. On comparing the transcriptions, we note such a 
resemblance in general form that they might, possibly, be regarded as variants 
of a single melody. The singer, however, was a man of unusual ability and 
experience and the Steal-partner dance is a popular dance, employing many songs. 
Under these circumstances it is possible that close resemblances might occur 
in the melodies, which he recorded without hesitation. The most elaborate of 
these songs is No. 38, which contains three rhythmic units, numerous measures 
in 5-8 time, and several occurrences of nota legato. In Nos. 33 and 35 Gus 
Willis joined the singer after the first phrase, the voices continuing in unison 
(cf. p. 121). 


No. 39. Steal-partner Dance Song (g) 

Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

Part 1 

(Catalog No. 2205) 





mh'lr^^Iirjfrtfurr^ rl r^ 

I r 

1 r 


;£jitei^Egc£amnr^^iii FrPrfi ^a 

Part 2 

J: 116 


T r 


^nh I r cnnrn^?gqTif^-^iiii r >■ ^r / i i 





Analysis. — The two parts of this song were separated by a pause In the 
recording. The first part is based on the fourth 5-toned scale and if the second 
part were a tone higher, it would correspond to the upper portion of that series. 
It is transcribed as sung, and we note that the second part is on a minor 
third, suggesting the change from major to minor tonality that was noted in 
earlier songs of this dance. The rhythmic units in the two parts are the same 
length but differ in count divisions. 

Beab Dance 

This was said to be a "hard jumping dance." It could be held at 
any time and the dancers were men and women, moving in couples 
around the circle and preceded by a leader. The songs were accom- 
panied by the striking sticks, carried by the leader who also led the 
singing and the "yells," which were frequently given between rendi- 
tions of the songs. "Wesley, who recorded the next song, said "when 
the song goes up higher the dancers step harder and all holler.''^ 
He probably referred to the fourth and sixth long phrases in which 
the tone D, as recorded, was shouted rather than sung. The pitch 
of this tone can be indicated only approximately in notation. 


No. 40. Bear Dance Song (a) 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

[Bt LL. 136 

(Catalog No. 2192) 

Voice Jr 88 

Striking sticks J: 88 

Rhythm of striking sticks similar to No. 30 


0' » 

w ^^ 





^ r 


Analysis. — An interesting change of rhythm occurs in this melody. The 
divisions of the five counts beginning with the last count in the third measure 
are the same as in the two preceding measures, but a change of accent produces 
a different rhythm. A whole tone comprises one-half the progressions, next in 
frequency being a minor third. This melody contains the period formation, but 
the form is not so clear as in the song next following. 

No. 41. Bear Dance Song (b) 
Recorded by Robebt Henby 

(Catalog No. 2264) 


v'itiiii-j r:rrp]irrrf? ffff^ Tm-^rf^^ p 

B -(•-•. 



Analysis. — A minor triad forms the framework of period A in this melody. 
Period B opens with an ascent to the seventh, the melody then descending on 
the tones of a minor triad and minor seventh, a sequence of tones characterizing 
primitive music. Period B is in double time in its first occurrence and in triple 
time in its second occurrence. The melody tones are those of the second 
5-toned scale. 

The man who recorded the next two songs was formerly a leader 
in the Bear dance. He said that, in the dance, they sang the first 
of these songs twice, then changed the step, and sang the second 
song twice, and then repeated the first song. 

No. 42. Bear Dance Song (c) 

Recorded by Gus Wnxis 

Voice J = 88 I 

Striking sticks Jr 88 

Rhythm of striking sticks similar to No. 30 

(Catalog No. 2267) 

f^'itp •, \ U ^ 

h^-^/^if^ T P V m * ^ ! r^/^icjp •> ic/gf ^ 

r^v i cj^ 

•• ^0 




m S f J I I w J l iiJ - 


T #^ 



No. 43. Bear Dance Song (d) 
Recorded by Gus Whjjs 

Vdice Jr 88 

Striking sticks J: 88 

Rhythm of striking sticks similar to No. 30 

[Bull. 136' 

(Catalog No. 2268) 

mi^m^m^^ m 

m ^J^^ rM 

Analysis. —The short rhythmic unit in the first of these songs is extended iu 
the second. A major triad forms the framework of the first song and the middle 
phrase of the second, followed by a distinct change of rhythm and a descent 
to E, introducing a minor triad and minor seventh with the tones in descending 
order. The "shouts" with the two songs were different, those which preceded 
and followed the first song being shown as nearly as possible in the transcrip- 
tion. The second song is in the same tempo as the first. The "shouts" were 
different and are not indicated. The melody tones of both songs are those of 
the fourth 5-toned scale and the number of progressions is the same in both 
songs, comprising 12 descending and 9 ascending intervals. Variety is given 
to the rhythm of the striking sticks by a change to 2 eighth-note beats on the 
last coimt of each triple measure. 

Stomp Dance 

This is not one of the dances that are given in prescribed order. 
On the occasion of the writer's visit, the Stomp dance was given by 
request, following the other dances. Men and women stood in a 
circle, facing the center. They were not in couples but in any de- 
sired order, and all joined in the songs. The leader of the singing 
was an old man, who stood in the middle of the circle. As stated, 
the leader of the singing need not take part in the dancing, though 
a young man usually leads the line of dancers and sings. The mo- 
tion of the dance consisted in jumping with both feet at once, the 
circle of dancers moving in a contraclockwise direction. No instru- 
mental accompaniment was used with these songs. 

A general characteristic of the 12 Stomp dance songs under analy- 
sis is their rhythmic structure. Five of these songs contain three 
rhythmic units, 3 have 2 rhythmic units, 3 have 1 rhythmic unit, 
and 1 song contains no unit in its first rendition and 2 rhythmic 



units in its repetition by the same singer. A period formation occurs 
in 6 of these songs (Nos. 45, 46, 48, 49, and 51). The first 8 songs 
were recorded by Sidney Wesley and their complicated rhj^tlims were 
sung with remarkable clearness. The remaining four songs were 
recorded each by a different singer and are less elaborate than the 
songs recorded by Wesley. A variation or change in the Stomp dance 
is the Backward-and-forward dance (cf. No. 56, p. 171). 

No. 44. Stomp Dance Song (a) 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

(Catalog N«. 2194) 





-1 r 

mmmr 0»^ 

• •>•<> 





I — 





-\ I — 

p^',k ^L£frr£ff ^ C„£ jTr. | li 

-1 r 


^MTit rrrrriii rrmr.iH\i rrirr^f iP^i^ a 

Analysis. — This melody contains only the tones B flat and D flat except the 
occurrence of E flat in three measures. The three rhythmic units are in triple 
time and change to double time, but the coimt divisions in each are different. 
Ascending and descending intervals are equal in number, each consisting of 
12 minor thirds and 3 fourths. 


No. 45. Stomp Dance Song (b) 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

[Bull. 136 

(Catalog No. 2195) 

Analysis. — A period formation characterizes this song, the second period 
being short and higher in pitch than the remainder of the melody. The most 
prominent interval is the whole tone between F sharp and G sharp. Except 
for one ascending fourth, the intervals consist of whole tones and minor thirds. 

No. 46. Stomp Dance Song (c) 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 


(Catalog No. 2196) 

Analysis. — In period formation this resembles the song next preceding. The 
highest tone occurs in the second period, as in a majority of songs with this 
form. In approaching this high tone, the singer overreached the interval and 
sang D sharp instead of D. The next note was B, after which he gradually 
lowered the pitch level until the final tone of the measure was A, as transcribed. 
This change in pitch level was clearly unintentional and is not shown in the 
transcription. The second period resembles the third rhythmic unit, but the 
change in the rhythm of the first count gives emphasis to the phrase. 


J =7,, 



No. 47. Stomp Dance Song (d) 
Recorded by Stoney Weslet 


rBnt.r,. 13R 

(Catalog No. 2197) 


m ^ 


h/^WXX Lj Ud ^IIm L t4 '--' bJ 111 ^-^ UJ i\ 



r^h.^ L-TlT^ lli^ L [fh^UiiiULi^ 



wi!^ r r ^^^Fr/ ii^r./cr »i ii i r. L ' F^^ i r f^» ii 

rrojwZotiow. — Tobacco I will smoke, bring me fire (a light ?) . I am going to dance. 

Analysis. — The keynote is the highest tone in this song and does not occur in 
the lower octave. The song is major in tonality, but about one-fourth of the 
intervals are minor thirds. The intervals of a major third and major sixth 
do not occur, and the fourth is a prominent interval. Ascending and descending 
progressions are about equal in numbei*. The third measure is an interesting 
phrase and occurs at the close of each rhythmic unit. 

No. 48. Stomp Dance Song (e) 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 


(Catalog No. 2198) 



(2) (1) 

<!;. If n ■- 




■~I 1 

LIP m^ 







m — 1 





"^V i u 


1 ^^gj — 







^i-'- [X T rr rr r .d' i u Cj ^ fir?xi j^i T rfi 

Analysis. — An alternation of ascending and descending phrases characterizes 
this melody and produces a swaying effect. Attention is directed to the sixth 
and seventh measures which resemble the second rhythmic unit but are in 
double instead of triple time. The length of the periods is similar to that 
in the two preceding songs of this group. 


No. 49. Stomp Dance Song (0 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

tBULL. 136 

(Catalog No. 2199) 

J = 138 




^k M^rrnh^"^\^K'^rf.h^irp\rm 

-m^rrrr n rrtriEgj^rrrCJis^ft 

I 'hH tT ^^^rh^- V l i^'crrrr nd&k 

Analysis. — This lively soug contains only the tones of a major triad and 

second. The characteristic interval is a fourth, vphich comprises almost half 

the progressions. This occurs generally as a descending followed by an 
ascending interval. 

No. 50. Stomp Dance Song (g) 
Recorded by Sidnett Wesley 


J = 116 





(Catalog No. 2211) 


^ I ^ Sf^ 

f I \ msat 









1 G 





py|Ur I ^ ==j^ 



1 r 







FmT ^ M ^ 

Analysis. — Three rhythmic units occur in this song, the second measure being 
the same in all. There is no change of measure lengths, which is unusual in 
Indian songs. The tones are those of the fourth 5-toned scale and the melody 
is framed chiefly on the descending fourths O-G, and B flat-F, the former 
being a broken and the latter a direct progression. The descending intervals 
are more than double the ascending intervals in number. 



No. 51. Stomp Dance Song (h) 

Recorded by Sidney Wksi.ey 
First rendition 

[BCLL. 136 

(Catalog No. 2216) 

v^^ &aiiMM y r ess — Ir ^ ^* ' I '* CULa V 11 ** 

^rjTrr:ii^rrn i r;crri^.^^r/ ^ 

'f-\ i frrmf E/ i ia^^irfPHtrO'^ 


V^^ L,^ ^i-i----: ^-^-^fti ii--j ■■-^ ^ " -■J g^ 


l#-' -<»■••■-•■ 

frrrr'iT Tr. rir r i'j 



Second rendition 

J= 72 

(1) (1) 

--^S "-^ L— ^— S-Sis— ^-^ ^^^^^-i-,,1, -n^ 

[^ r rrrirTCrr#'rcr, i rrc.r.r'yit:^4J;^ 


r^J^ :- 

Lj La a Si 








Analysis. — Two renditions of this song, by the same singer, are presented 
for comparison. It will be noted that the principal phrase is the same in each. 
This occurs first in the third measure of the first rendition and appears through- 
out both performances. The first rendition is characterized by a period forma- 
tion that does not appear in the second. The rhythmic unit of this performance 
is interrupted by the vigorous phrase designated as period B. The melody 
tones of both renditions are those of the fourth 5-toned scale and the song 
progresses chiefly by whole tones and minor thirds. 

No. 52. Stomp Dance Song (i) 

Recorded by Gus Wirxis 
First rendition 

(Catalog No. 2271) 

Jz 66 










* _L, 


£\* 1 '1 









*>\J' 4 7 

— H 




■^ V — J* — ' — 















.'^b'' i^C£r II i cr p V m i s ^Ql^ft£^t^^ffl 




1 f 


rtrric.rm i -itaTj'Cr i PvrrPv 

Second rendition 



y^lSj'^n L/m^ton C J^m 





Analysis. — Two renditions of this song were recorded and both are presented, 
the second followed by the first after a short pause. Slight differences occur and 
will be readily noted. The tones, the tempo, and the pitch of the two are the 
same, also the use of two rhythmic units. The first rendition contains an intro- 
ductory phrase which is Indicated as a rhythmic unit. This does not occur in 
the repetition of the song. 

435660 — 43 12 ,_. 


No. 53. Stomp Dance Song (j) 
Recorded by Ltbander Tubby 

[Bull. 136 

(Catalog No. 2372) 





^>#frf f 


ff ,t t 




Ff ir'FTLt^'^igffirr i rrir'pi^f ^ 








a gp f ^ 




7' Hard 

J = 76 

J; 108 

mff r r i rrrcnR r ^rpv ir.: rmrrirnr ^ 

No. 54. Stomp Dance Song (k) 

Recorded by Robebt Henby 

(Catalog No. 2354) 

= 63 

^h\t r ^JL^ f i L/g 

' > 


• • 


J : 96 

Jz 63 

lit '1 









— — < 


J-4 1 





'-^ fr^tf- 




■B .. 







^^^j' prr i frr jf i ii^'^Cr-r n;^ r = ^ 


p r 

>^^t ffj^i^ 

^— J '■^*"^ — 




No. 55. Stomp Dance Song (1) 
Recorded by Olman Combt 

(Catalog No. 2353) 






^Mnrrzrr^'^iElT^m'ji i 

Analysis. — These songs (Nos. 53-55) are minor in tonality. The keynote is 
the lowest tone in each, and the principal progression is between this tone and 
its third. Nos. 54 and 55 contain the tones of the complete triad. The rhythm 
of these songs is simple, and the rhythmic nnits in Nos. 54 and 55 contain only 
one measure. When transcribing No. 53, a sharp sound was heard on the 
record. This was identified as the barliing of Tubby's dog, which was allowed 
in the room while he recorded his songs. 

An additional Stomp dance song recorded by Willis was not transcribed. This 
melody consists entirely of ascending and descending fourths, repeated rhythmi- 
cally and forming a brief melodic phrase. 

According to Wesley, the Backward-and-forward dance was a 
"variation or change in the Stomp dance." 

No. 56. Backward-and-forward Dance Song 

(Catalog No. 2206) 

J: 120 

Recorded by Sidnett Wesi-ey 






1 r 











WiiI'C J'F'v 




rvicrrnrrr ^ 



[Bull. ISti 

Analysis. — Three periods comprise this melody, each having its own rhythmic 
imit. The second period begins on a higher tone, but the remainder of the melody 
contains only the tones A and B. 

Teebapin, QuArr., Tckkey, Chicken, and Pleasure Dances 

The five dances next following may be held at any time. The dancers 
are in couples, a man and a woman dancing together. They move four 
times around the circle, moving in a contraclockwise direction, singing 
one song. After circling four tunes, they begin another song. The 
leader of the singing is usually the leader of the dancers, taking his 
place at the head of the line. However, if he is an old man he is 
excused from leading the dancers and stands within the circle, singing 
and beating the striking sticks together to mark the time. The origin 
of these dances was not ascertained. 

j = 


No. 57. Terrapin Dance Song (a) 

Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

(Catalog No. 2207) 



\^J ,niUULM 

' -^ ii^; \ )n \ i^^^^m^t=^^m^^ 


^'tf^i[rri U^-n^Hi 


Analysis. — This melody consists of four repetitions of the rhythmic unit. In 
three of its occurrences it is preceded by an unaccented tone and in the first 
by an accented half note. The tone material is that of the fourth 5-toned scale 
and about half the progressions are whole tones. An increase in tempo, customary 
in the dance, is shown in the transcription. 


No. 58. Terrapin Dance Song (b) 

Recorded by Robert Henry 

Voice J: 72 . 

Striking sticks J r 72 

See rhythm of striking sticks below 


(Catalog No. 2356) 

m\> : r/ err /i^ii^^/M^-a ^^ 

^^ Fine ^ 

FPbHHp ^T^r i gr/r H-^f /tir*^^-'" 

Rhythm of striking sticks 


Analysis. — The descent of an octave in the first and second measures of this 
song is interesting and unusual. A long descent occurs four times in the song, 
each descent being in two measures. The rhythmic unit is modified in the closing 
measures of the melody. 

A characteristic of the Quail and Duck dances (Nos. 29, 30) is a 
gradual increase in time, possibly associated with the motion of the 
birds. The leader sang alone in this dance, and the songs were accom- 
panied by the striking sticks. 

No. 59. Quail Dance Song 

Recorded by Sidney Henry 

(Catalog No. 22«5) 




1 r 

J- P HI 


Mi.^ ^ d nm r cr \Lrt^ 

# — •-i» 

i iLj y 


(2) (2) 

a- m m. 





....-.• ^ ^ m ^ ^^-^ 







v^ u 












f4 — ' 


1 ""fiBiaJ 




>— H 




[Bdll. 136 

Analysis. — The principal interval in this song is a major third (A-C sharp), 
which is followed in the second measure by a descent to F sharp, forming a minor 
triad, and in the fourth measure by a descent to E, completing a major triad. 
This form continues throughout the song and has been noted in numerous other 
Choctaw songs. Two rhythmic units occur, and the melody progresses by 18 
ascending and 19 descending intervals. The tempo increased from =76 to 
«! =92 in the repetitions of the song. 

The step of the Turkey dance consists of a hop with both feet 
together, iBrst one foot and then the other being placed fonvard. 
The song of this dance has words, but their meaning is not known 
at the present time. It is undoubtedlj'^ an old song. 

No. 60. Turkey Dance Song 
Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

(Catalog No. 2209) 

Voice J : 72 

striking sticks J -. 72 

See rhythm of striking sticks below 


(1) (1) 

(1) (1) (2) 

I r; 


^ ^i rJ mtr' c y \i 

« \^ 1 » F \ ^P 








\:)^^^h\ ^^^H^^^ 

*• * 






a !* 

rT»"-ft-374 - 

Rhythm of striking sticks 

J J JJj j 




Analysis. — This melody is an interesting example of period formation, the 
second period being short, higher in pit^h than the first and different -in 



rhythm. A recurrence of the first period closes the song. Two rhythmic units 
occur, neither being in the second period. The first unit is based on a minor 
third and the second on the interval of a fourth, these units occurring chiefly 
in descending progression. Fourths and whole tones are equal in number, which 
is unusual in Indian songs. A swaying motion, with ascending and descending 
intervals in rapid succession, characterizes this and has been noted in other 
Choctaw dance songs. 

The Chicken dance is usually the last dance at a gathering, and the 
dancers do not join in the songs, the leader singing alone. 

No. 61. Chicken Dance Song 

Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

Voice J: 63 . 

Striking sticks Jr63 

Rhythm of striking sticks similar to No. 60 

Irregular in tonality 


(Catalog No. 2193) 

^ ^mm^wm^ \i nrr/CTHi 

Analysis. — This was the first song recorded by Sidney Wesley. After he had 
recorded a second song, he expressed dissatisfaction with his first performance, 
saying he had not recorded the entire song and asking that another record be 
made. This was done, and the transcription is from his second recording of 
the song. On comparing the two performances, it was found that the first did 
not contain the third period. This, together with the intricate rhythm of the 
song, is an evidence of musical ability on the part of the singer. An entire 
change of rhythm occurs in the second period which is made emphatic by an 
accent on a sixteenth note. Four rhythmic units are shown in the transcription. 
The fourth unit begins with an unaccented tone, the next measure comprising 



IBLiLL. 13«J 

the latter portion of the third rhythmic unit. About half the intervals are 
whole tones, and the fourths and major thirds are equal in number. 

In the Pleasure dance the men are in one row and the women in 
another row, facing them. They move their hands up and down, as 
though shaking corn in a basket, all moving their hands together. 
The word yoha means "shift," and the men said, "yoha," the women 
responding "ha." The syllables transcribed with the song are prob- 
ably adaptations of these words. 

No. 62. Pleasure Dance Song 
Recorded by Sidney Weslly 

Voice Jr 69 

Striking sticks Jr 69 

Rhythm of striking sticks similar to No. 30 

(Catalog No. 'J21-i) 

^t.''^ l l-r~P 




Yo - bi - hi - ya yo - M^ - hi -ya j'o - M - hi -ya 

^fei^^^ 'FvlLpg 

m a 


ya-be-hi-ya yo-bi-hi-ya yo-bi-hi-ya ya-be-hi-ya 

Analysis. — The opening phrases of this song contain two descending fourths 
followed by two ascending fourths. In the fourth and fifth measures are found 
three consecutive ascending fourths with a slight prolonging of the highest 
tone. The tempo of the striliing sticks was not maintained steadily, sometimes 
being slightly faster than the tempo of the voice. 


The blowgun was formerly the weapon used by the Choctaw in 
hunting small animals and birds. Kobert Henry demonstrated the 
use of this weapon w^hen the writer visited his home. He knelt on 
one knee, threw back his head, held the blowgun high in the air, and 
shot the dart a long distance.^' A blowgun and two darts from the 
Choctaw of Louisiana, is in the possession of the United States 
National Museum. The darts are wrapped with ravelled cloth at 
the base and are 18 inches in length. The blowgun shows "long use 
and wear," and is 87^ inches long. 

" "The primitive blowgun was used until recently In hunting squirrels, rabbits, and 
various birds. Only one specimen was found at Bayou Lacomb ; this was said to have been 
made some 10 years ago. . . . The blowgun ... is about 7 feet in length ; it is made of a 
single piece of cane . . . formed into a tube by perforation of the joints, which was given 
a smooth bore of uniform diameter throughout. The darts . . . are made of either small, 
slender canes or pieces of hard yellow pine, sharijened at one end ; they are from 15 to 18 28] CHOCTAW MUSIC DENSMORE 


A very old hunting song was recorded by both Lysander Tubby 
and Robert Henry. The words of the two renditions were the same 
except that Henry omitted the second line. His rendition was trans- 
cribed and studied, but lacks the clearness of Tubby's, which is 
presented. Henry's was a simpler version of the melody, and it will 
be recalled that his version of the song for success in the ball game 
was simpler than that of Willis (cf. No. 6). 

No. 63. Hunting Song 
Recorded by Lysandeb Tubby 

(Catalog No. 22T2) 


<2) rr 


f rt tT TT 

-aw — I— Mi — I— 




m m m \ » 

ft m. 




|2(1) (2) — 1 ^^'^ 

P P | p p_a 

Go and grind some corn, we will go camping, 
Go and sew, we will go camping, 
I passed on and you were sitting there crying. 
You were lazy and your hoe is rnsty. 

Inches in length. The lower end is wrapped for a distance of 4 or 5 inches with a narrow 
band of cloth having a frayed edge, or a piece of soft tanned skin is used. The effect of 
tills band is to expand and fill the hore of the gun, a result that could not possibly be secured 
by the use of feathers, as in the case of ordinary arrows" (Bushnell, 1909, p. 18). 


Analysis. — The entire performauce of this song was transcribed and occupied 
2 minutes. In tonality tlie song is minor, the tones being those of the second 
5-toned scale. A slight change in tempo occurred, the change being gradual, 
and the original tempo resumed after a few measures. This change took place 
in each rendition. Phrases in the latter portion of the song were sometimes 
sung in a slightly faster tempo, but the change was not clear enough to be 
indicated in the transcription. Probably these changes in tempo were con- 
nected with the words of the song. 


A pastime entitled "Rabbit in the Garden" was accompanied by 
a song of the same name. In describing the occasion for singing this 
song, Wesley said the women held hands forming a circle. This 
represented a garden and the women Avere the fence around it. In 
the middle of the circle were a boy and girl, representing rabbits, 
who tried to get out, but were prevented by the women. The words 
are evidently sung by rote as the terms "ladies' chain" and "putting 
in the garden" are used without meaning and the word "chain" was 
pronounced "chan." The word was identified by the interpreter. 

This is evidently the song of an old folk-play, learned by the 
Indians from white settlers and handed down for several genera- 
tions. A song, entitled "Eabbit in the Hollow," with a description 
of the action, is found in a book of folk games and dances (Hofer, 
1907, p. 23). The words are in German and are translated "rabbit in 
the hollow sits and sleeps." The meter of these words is exactly the 
same as the meter of "rabbit in the garden, can't come out" except 
that, in one instance, two eighth notes take the place of one quarter 
note. There is a resemblance in the meter of the remainder of the 

An inquiry was made of Dr. John K. Swanton as to whether the 
Choctaw were ever in contact with German settlers, and he replied 
as follows : 

Colonies of Germans were planted here and there in various parts of the 
South, Germany being then a people but not a nation, but I recall none in or 
near the Choctaw country. There was one such colony, Les Allemands, on the 
lower Mississippi, and a colony of Salzburgers from the Palatinate about 
Ebenezer Creek on Savannah River. ... It occurs to me that there may be 
some connection between this song and the story of how Brer Rabbit deceived 
the little girl and got out of the garden. This is widely spread in the South 
and was used by Joel Chandler Harris. 28] CHOCTAW MUSIC — DENSMORE 
No. 64. "Rabbit in the Garden" 
Recorded by Sidnet Wesley 


(Catalog No. 2212) 

0^ some la-dies chain rab-bit, put-ting luthegar-deUjCatft come out. 


r pyur 

r ilT Lr I 


■s j. t m " 

some la-dies chaiu, .2 £. ^ 2. some la-dies 


p m fB m 

f-f^iU T T F 


chain, rabbit put-tiug in thegar-den,canH come out O^somela-dies chaiu 

C rab-bit. 

some la -dies chain, rab-bit 

^tfrt^^j^^T IC^ py-M 


14 \» 

put-ting In thegar- den, can't come out. some la-dles chain, 


m m. 



*>— Jitt 


i p p 

_0 some la-dies chain, rab-bit put-ting in the gar-den ,can't come out. 

^M[!f up''\rrpyUiS C,^ ^ 


_0 .some la-dies chain, 0^ 

_0 some la-dies chain rab-bit, 

lALsZzih^^^^^^^ ^^m 

gar-den, gar-den can't come out I bet you fivedoI-Iars,caift come out. 

Worda as recorded ty the singer. — O some ladles' chain, Rabbit putting in the garden, can't 
come out. I bet you five dollars can't come out. 

Analysis. — This melody is short and its repetitions are transcribed because of 
the interest in the words. The structure is clear and comprises five phrases 
with practically the same rhythm. There is a peculiar quaUty in the rhythm 
that would make possible the continuance of the song for a long time. The 
tones are those of the fourth 5-toned scale, the entire melody lying above 
the keynote. 

A familiar scene of the hunt is dramatized in the second pastime. 
Only two players take part, one representing a dog and the other 



[Bull. 136 

a raccoon. The dog chases the raccoon, which runs among the spec- 
tators, followed by the dog until it escapes. Meaningless syllables 
interspersed with a few words were sung with the melody, as shown 
in the transcription, and the words "Look out, dog, coon's gone" 
were spoken after the rendition of the song. These words were 
followed by a repetition of the song. 

No. 65. A Dog Chases a Raccoon 

Recorded by Sidney Wesley 

(Catalog No. 2213) 



I I r ' " ' I 

Shoo da did -die urn a shoo da did- die um a 


ntj-r i i^ȣJLllc-^ l 

shoo da dee you ma you coon shoo da dkl-dle um a 


shoo da did-dle um a shoo da dee you you got be-hind her 


Look out dog, coon's gone Shoo da djj-dle um a^ 

shoo da did-dle um a_ shoo da d^ you ma you coon. 

Analysis. — The structure of this melody is freely melodic. The song is based 
on consecutive descending fourths, tliese being C-G and B flat-F. A minor 
third occurs in the fourth measure and a minor triad in the measure before 
the spoken words. These progressions suggest G as the keynote of the song. 
A slow rhythmic unit and a steady rhythm characterize the song which contains 
no suggestion of a chase. Instead it seems to reflect the mood of an observer, 
as indicated by the words. The song contains 10 ascending and 9 descending 

Anthkop. Pap. No. 2H1 CHOCTAW MUSIC DENSMORE 181 


In previous books of this series, the songs of each tribe have 
been compared with tlie total number of songs recorded and analyzed 
in other tribes. This method is discontinued, and the present com- 
parison is based on observation of the preceding work, attention 
being directed to resemblances or differences that are important to 
an understanding of Indian music. The purpose of these and pre- 
vious comparisons is to determine the characteristics that are gen- 
eral and those that are peculiar to tribes and regions. When the 
latter are determined, it is often possible to trace the peculiarities 
to influences in or near the region. Certain bases of analysis 
have been discontinued when the results were practically the same 
in all the tribes under analysis, others have been discontinued for 
other reasons. Only 12 tables of analysis are here presented, al- 
though 22 tables were used in Teton Sioux Music, published in 1918. 
These are believed to include the most important melodic and rhyth- 
mic characteristics of the songs. 

Table 1. Tonality. — The Choctaw songs contain 51 percent with 
major tonality, this being approximately the average in all the songs 
under analysis. The Menominee songs contained 66 percent and the 
Sioux contained only 39 percent that were major in tonality, while 
the cumulative analysis of 1,553 songs" contained 53 percent with 
this tonality. 

Table 2. First note of song; its relation to keynote. — Tribes differ 
widely in this respect. The Choctaw group contains 47 percent be- 
ginning on the keynote, while the cumulative series contains only 13 
percent with this beginning. In the Menominee songs only 5 per- 
cent begin on the keynote while 30 percent begin on the fifth above 
the keynote. 

Table 3. Last not£. of song; its relation to keynote. — A feeling for 
the keynote is evident in this as in the preceding table, 59 percent 
of the Choctaw songs ending on the keynote. There is an interest- 
ing uniformity in this ending, the Sioux, Papago, Menominee, and 
Yuman and Yaqui groups each having 54 percent ending on the 
keynote. Tribes that differ widely are the Pawnee, with 72 percent, 
and the Mandan and Hidatsa, with 37 percent, ending on the keynote. 

"Chippewa, Sioux, Mandan, Hidatsa, Northern Ute, Pawnee, Papago, Yuman. Yaqui, 
Menominee, Nootka, and Quileute, and several Pueblo groups, these being analyzed in tables. 
The songs of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Alabama, Tule of Panama, Winnebago Indians of 
Santo Domingo, N. Mex., and Indians of British Columbia were not analyzed in tables. 

"Cf. Densmore. 1939, pp. 35-41. Songs are classified according to the tribe recording 
them. Songs of another tribe are occasionally recorded, this being mentioned in the text, 
t*it not considered in the tabul.ated analyses. 


Tahle k. Last note of song; its relation to compass of song. — The 
final note is the lowest in 47 percent of the Choctaw songs. In the 
cumulative group 68 percent, and in the Chippewa songs 88 percent 
end on the lowest tone of the compass. In songs having the final 
tone immediately preceded by a lower tone the most frequent ap- 
proach is by means of an ascending minor third, 12 percent of the 
Choctaw and 5 percent in the cumulative group having this approach 
to the final tone. 

Table 5. Nurnber of tones coTnprised in compass of song. — The 
Choctaw songs are characterized by a small compass, only 19 percent 
having a compass of 8 or more tones. About 68 percent of the songs 
in the cumulative analysis have this compass. The Nootka and 
Quileute have only about 22 percent while the Pawnee have 72 percent 
and the Sioux songs have 94 percent with a compass of 8 or more 
tones. The Ute, Chippewa, and Mandan and Hidatsa, have respec- 
tively 89, 88, and 87 percent, and the Papago, Menominee, Yuman, 
and Yaqui a slightly smaller percentage of songs with this compass. 

Table 6. Tone mateHal. — This is an interesting test of Indian 
songs but far from conclusive. It is necessary to use the terminology 
of a system that is familiar to us but foreign to the Indians. Meas- 
ured by this standard, we note that 29 percent of the Choctaw songs 
are on the "major and minor pentatonic scales" -" and 21 percent 
lack only one tone of being based on these scales. Only four of the 
65 Choctaw songs contain all the tones of the diatonic octave. In 
the cumulative analyses, 28 percent are on the second and fourth 
5-toned scales. 

Tahle 7. First progression., downward and upward. — In the Choc- 
taw songs 57 percent begin with a downward progression. The total 
number of intervals in the cumulative series of 1,553 songs shows the 
downward trend of Indian melodies, 60 percent of the progressions 
being downward, yet the percentage of songs beginning with a down- 
ward progression, in this cumulative series, is only 41 percent. In the 
Nootka and Quileute songs only 41 percent begin with a downward 
progression, while 70 percent of the Chippewa and 71 percent of the 
Pawnee songs have this opening interval. Fifty-one percent of the 
Mandan and Hidatsa songs being with a descending interval, the per- 
centages in the Papago, Yuman and Yaqui, Menominee, and Sioux be- 
ing, respectively 61, 62, 63, and 69 percent. 

Table 8. Part of measure on which song begins. — ^A direct attack 
is shown by the fact that 88 percent of the Choctaw songs begin on the 
accented count of the measure. Only 55 percent in the cumulative 
group have this beginning. In the various tribes the average is about 

» See footnote p. 1S6, after table 6. 28] CHOCTAW MUSIC — DEISTSMORE 183 

60 percent, though the Yuman and Yaqui have only 49 percent of the 
songs beginning on an accented tone. 

2'ahle 9. Rhythm {meter) of first Tneousure. — Double time is pre- 
ferred by the Choctaw for the beginning of their songs, 83 percent hav- 
ing the first measure in 2-4 time. This would be expected, as a major- 
ity of recorded Choctaw songs are dance melodies. In other tribes the 
songs are more varied, an attempt being made to have about the same 
proportion of each class of songs in a tribe. The percentages of songs 
beginning in 2-4 time are remarkably uniform. This percentage is 
50 in the Chippewa, 54 in the Sioux and Papago, 55 and 57 in the Man- 
dan, Hidatsa, Yuman, and Yaqui, 62 in the Pawnee, 64 in the Ute and 
Menominee, and 66 in the Nootka and Quileute. The percentage in the 
cumulative series is 60 percent. 

Table 10. Change of time {ineasure lengths) . — In the Choctaw songs 
62 percent contain a change of time. This is the smallest per- 
centage in the songs under analysis and we note again that a majority 
of the recorded Choctaw songs are connected with dances. Next are 
the Pawnee, and Yuman and Yaqui, 74 percent of the songs in each of 
these groups containing a change of time. The Sioux and Papago 
groups contain the highest percentages of songs with a change of time, 
these being respectively 92 and 91 percent. This shows a change of 
measure lengths, as indicated by accented tones, to be a prevailing 
characteristic of Indian songs. 

Table 11. Rhythmic unit of song. — The rhythmic character of the 
recorded Choctaw songs is indicated by the presence of one or more 
rhythmic units in 88 percent of the songs. The next percentage is in 
the Menominee group with 87 percent having a rhythmic unit. The 
least rhythmic songs are found among the Nootka and Quileute, only 
55 percent of these songs containing a rhythmic unit. The Pawnee 
group contains 84 percent and certain other groups contain 68, 70, and 
76 percent of songs with rhythmic units. A large majority of these 
songs contain only one rhythmic unit, but others have two, three, four, 
or five rhythmic units. 

Table 12. Rhythm {meter) of striking sticks used as an accompani- 
ment to songs. — A limited number of Choctaw songs were recorded 
with the accompaniment of striking sticks, four rhythms being noted. 
The accompaniment was continuous, not interspersed with rests as in 
the Yuman and Yaqui songs (cf. Densmore, 1932, p. 208). In a com- 
pilation of 366 Chippewa and Sioux songs, 40 percent contained a 
drumbeat in unaccented eighth notes and 34 percent contained a drum- 
beat in quarter-note values, each beat preceded by an unaccented beat 
corresponding approximately to the third count of a triplet (cf. 
Densmore, 1918, p. 36). The latter occurs with 6 percent of the 
Choctaw songs. 



[Bull. 136 

Intervals of frogression in Indian songs. — In tribes analyzed prior 
to and including the Yuman and Yaqui, a tabulation was made of the 
intervals in ascending and descending progression. The intervals in 
36 Choctaw songs were tabulated as a test of that tribe. The total 
number of intervals in these songs is 1,474, of which 855 (59 percent) 
are descending and 619 (41 percent) are ascending progressions. This 
shows that the general trend of the Choctaw melodies is downward, as 
in other Indian songs. The largest group of intervals consists of 
612 whole tones and 430 minor thirds, showing the general melodic 
structure to be similar to that of the other tribes under analysis. 



Table 1. — Tonality 

Classification of sou;.' 

Serial uuinber of song 



Major tonality ' 

2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25, 30, 31, 32, 33, 39, 
40, 42, 43, 46, 47, 49, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 64, 65. 

9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 41, 
45, 48, 50, 51, 52, 63, 54, 55, 62, 03. 

1,4, 16,28 






Minor tonality ' 



8,61 - 




• Songs are thus classified if the third is a major third and the sixth, if present, is a major sixth above the 

' Songs are thus classified If the third Is a minor third and the sixth, if present, is a minor sixth above the 

' Songs are thus classified if the tones do not have an apparent keynote. In such songs the tones appear 
to be arranged with reference to intervals rather than with reference to a keynote, many being based on the 
interval of a fourth. 

Table 2. — First note of song; its relation to keynote 

Classification of song 

Serial number of song 



Beginning on the— 









12, 18, 19, 21, 29, 35, 37, 38, 39 



3,5, 14, 16, 50,62 



9, 13, 20, 34, 36, 41, 42, 51, 52, 54, 55, 57. 58, 64... 






1, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 33, 

40, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 53, 59, 60, 63, 65. 


Irregular in tonality 





Table 3. — Last note of song; its relation to keynote 


CIa.ssific:»tion of song Serin! uunihi>r of sync 



Ending on the— 











3, 5,6, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 31, 33, 34, 
36, 37, 40, 42, 43, 44. 45, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 59, 
62, 63, 64. 



Indeterminate ending 


Irregular in tonality 





Takt.e 4. — Last note of song; its relation to compass of song 

Classification of song 

Serial number of song 

Songs in which final tone is- 
Lowest tone in song 

Immediately preceded by '— 

Fourth below 

Minor third below 

Whole tone below 

Songs containing lower tones 
than final tone. 

Total-- --- 

1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 32, 36, 
37, 38, 42, 44, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 64. 


3,21,35,39,40,41,50,59 - 


2, 8, 9, 12, 14, 23, 29, 31. 33, 43, 60, 63, 65. 



' This shows the approach to the final tone. Many songs in this group contain other tones lov. er than the 
final tone. 

T-\BiB 5. — Number of tones comprised in of soiu) 

Compass of song 

Eleven tones. 

Ten tones 

Eight tones.. 
Seven tones.. 
Six tones 

Five tones.. 
Four tones— 
Three tones. 


Serial number of song 

14 ^- I..- ^ 

60 . 

12,13,16,20,28,32.33.57,58,63. . 


2, 5, 7, 11, 17, 18, 19, 29, 30, 31, 34, 39, 40, 49, 50, 51, 53, 55, 
59, 64, 65. 


15,27,42,44- -.- 

6. -.-- 























Table 6. — Tone material 

[Bull. 136 

Tonality of song 

Second 5-toned scale > 

Fourth 5-toned scale 

Major triad and one other tone. 
Minor triad and one other tone. 
Octave complete 

Other combinations of tones — 


Serial number of song 



18,22,31,49... - 

9,10,13,15,34,36,37,38,62,54 - 


1,2,3,4,5,6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 35, 40, 
42, 44, 45, 47, 56, 68, 61, 62, 65. 
















' The 5-toned scales considered in these analyses are two of the 5-toned scales according to Helmholtz, 
described by him as follows: 

"To the Second Scale, without Seconder Sixth, belong most Scotch airs which have a minor char- 
acter .... 

"To the Fourth Scale, without Fourth or Seventh, belong most Scotch airs which have the character of 
a major mode" (Helmholtz, 1885, pp. 260, 261). 

Table 7. — First progressions ; downward and upward 


Serial number of song 



Downward . 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 
36, 37, 38, 42, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, 52, 54, 65, 56, 57, 58, 62, 
63, 65. 

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 17, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 32, 39, 40, 
41, 43, 44, 45, 48, 53, 59, 60, 61, 64. 







Table 8. — Part of measure on which song begins 

Beginning of song 

Serial number of son^ 



On unaccented part of measure. 

3, 4, 5. 8, 20, 39, 52, 61 



On accented part of measure 

1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 
25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, .36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 
42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 61, 63, 54, 66, 66, 57, 58, 59, 
60, 62, 63, 64, 65. 





Table 9. — Rhythm (meter) of first measure 


Rhythm first measure 

Serial number of song 



2-4 time - 

1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 
24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 
44, 45. 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65. 

2. 14, 19, 35, 36, 46, 47, 48, 49, 61 





3^ time 


6-8 time 





Table 10. — Change of time (measure lengths) 


Serial number of song 



Containing no change of time... 
Containing a change of time 

3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 34, 37, 

42, 50, 56, 59, 60, 62. 
1, 2, 4, 7, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 27, 29, 31, 32. 33, 35, 36, 38, 

39, 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 





Total - 


Table 11. — Rhythmic unit ^ of song 

Songs containing— 

Serial number of song 



No rhythmic unit.. 







One rhythmic unit 

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 25, 27, 29, 30, 36, 

37, 39, 40, 42, 49, 51, 53, 54, 57, 58, 62, 65. 


Two rhythmic units 


Three rhythmic units 

4, 13, 22,44,46, 47,48,50, 52, 56 


Four rhythmic units 





I For the purpose of this analysis a rhythmic unit is defined as "a group of tones of various lengths, com- 
prising more than one count of a measure, occurring more than twice in a song, and having an evident In- 
fluence on the rhythm of the entire song." 

Table 12. — Rhythm (meter) of striking sticks used as a/n accompaniment to songs 

Rhythm of striking sticks 

Serial number of song 


Eighth notes unaccented. 

Eighth notes accented in groups of two. 

Quarter notes unaccented 

Quarter notes, each beat preceded by an unaccented beat 
corresponding approximately to the third count of a 

Recorded without accompaniment 

62 (also 6 Duplicate). 


30, 40, 42, 43- 



BusHNELL, David I., Jk. 

1909. The Choctaw of Bayou Lacomb, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. 

Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 48. 
Catliis', George 

1913. Illustrations of the manners and customs of the North American 
Indians. 2 vols. London. 
CmuN, Stewart 

1907. Games of the North American Indians. 24th Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. 
Ethnol., 1902-03, pp. 1-846. 


1899. History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians. 
Densmoke. Frances 

1910. Chippewa music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 45. 
1913. Chippewa music — II. Bur. Anier. Ethnol. Bull. 53. 
1918. Teton Sioux music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 61. 

1922. Northern Ute music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 75. 

1923. Mandan and Hidatsa music. Bur. Amt^r. Ethnol. Bull. 80. 

1926. Music of the Tule Indians of Panama. Smithsonian Coll., vol. 
77, No. 11. 

1928. Uses of plants by the Chippewa Indians. 44th Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. 

Ethnol. 1926-27, pp. 275-397. 

1929. Chippewa customs. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 86. 
1929 a. Papago music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 90. 
1929 b. Pawnee music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 93. 
1932. Menominee music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 102. 

1932 a. Yuman and Yaqui music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 110. 

1936. Cheyenne and Arapaho music. Southwest Mus. Pap. No. 10. L<^)S 

Angeles. - - 

1937. The Alabama Indians and their music. In Straight Texas. Publ. 

Texas Folk-Lore Soc, No. 13, pp. 270-293. 
19.38. Music of Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico. Southwest Mus. Pap. 

No. 12. Los Angeles. 
1939. Nootka and Quileute music. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 124. 
1943. A search for songs among the Chitimacha Indians in Louisiana. 
Anthrop. Pap. No. 19, Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 133. 
Helmholtz, Hermann LunwiG Ferdinand von 

188.5: On the sensations of tone as a physiological basis for the theory of 
music. Trans: by A. J. Ellis. 2d English ed. London. 
Hodge, Frederick Webb 

1907. Handbook of American Indians north of Mexico, pt. 1. Bur, Amer. 
,. Ethnol.. Bull. 30. _ 
HoFER, IVLiRi Reuf 

1907. Popular folk games and dances. A. Flanagan Co., Chicago. 
RoYCE, Charles C. ' 

1899. Indian land cessions in the United States. 18th Ann. Rep. Bur. 
Amer. Ethnol., 1896-97, pt. 2. 
SwANTON, John R. 

1911. Indian tribes of the lower Mississippi Valley and adjacent coast of 

the Gulf of Mexico. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 43. 
1922. Early history of the Creek Indians and their neighbors. Bur. Amer. 

Ethnol. Bull. 73. 
1931. Source material for the social and <eremoDial life of the Choctaw 

Indians. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 103. 


if f '^'^iiiiti iiiiin 



*i ^ 


1. Maggie Billies Bead Collar. 

2. Maggie Billies Fancy Comb. 




2. MAN'S Bead Collar. 




1 . Sidney Wesley Approaching Through the Woods 

Z. Mary Hickmans House. Where Songs Were hecorded. 



1. Robert Henrys House. Where Songs Were recorded. 

2. GROUP AT Robert Henrys House When Songs Were Recorded. 




2. Racket used in Ball Game. 

3. Scrimmage in ball Game 




Bob Henry Holding Rackets in Position for Play. 




1 . Ball used in Ball Game 


2. Four Handkerchiefs Folded for use in Bullet Game. 


Bureau of American Ethnology 

Bulletin 136 

Anthropological Papers, No. 29 

Some Ethnological Data 

Concerning One Hundred Yucatan Plants 





Introduction 193 

Description of plants 194 

Discussion 220 

Explanation of plates 225 

Bibliography 226 



22. Plants of Yucatan. 1, Acrocomia mexicana Karw. 2, Alvaradoa 

amorphoides Liebm. 3, Bromelia Karatas L. 4, Fruit of Bromelia 
Karatas L 226 

23. Plants of Yucatan. 1, Cedrela mexicana M. Roem. 2, Cereus undatus 

Haw. S, Dorstenia Contrajerva L. 4, Euphorbia hirta h 226 

24. Plants of Yucatan. 1, Ficus cotinifolia HBK. 2, Leucaena glauca 

(L.) Benth. 3, Plumeria alba L. 4, Spondias purpurea L 226 



By Morbis Steggerda 

Carnegie Institution of Washington 
Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, New York 


During the last 9 years the author has spent considerable time 
among the Maya Indians of Yucatan and has become increasingly 
aware of the fact that the primitive life of these people is in constant 
intimate relation with nature. Not only do they depend upon the 
plant kingdom for their food, shelter, and clothing, but they rely 
upon it for many of their so-called cures. Consequently the ethno- 
botany of the region is rich in detail and color, offering a fertile 
field for the investigator who is interested in the Maya, their beliefs 
and customs, and their use of plants. This paper presents information 
collected by the author on 100 plants in the vicinity of Chichen Itza, 
where the Carnegie Institution of Washington maintains a base for 
its investigators. 

. There have been at least three important publications pertaining to 
the flora of Yucatan (Roys, 1931; Standley, 1930; Carnegie Publ. No. 
461, 1936). 1 The study by Dr. Ralph L. Roys entitled ''The Ethno- 
Botany of the Maya" is primarily a translation study and comparison 
of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Maya medical texts. P. C. 
Standley's Flora of Yucatan is a classification of plants sent to 
the Field Museum in Chicago by various collectors. Both of these 
studies list ethnological data concerning the Maya. Botany of the 
Maya Area, a compilation of technical papers on plants, seldom con- 
siders the ethnobotanical significance of the plants included. None 
of these publications lists all the plants of the Maya area or all the 
uses ascribed to them by natives. It is hoped that tlie present report 
will add significant information on this interesting subject. 

At the beginning of this study approximately 225 species of plants 
were collected, and all their uses as given by several native informants 
were recorded. Two sets of the plants were brought to the United 

' For other references to plant life of Yucatan, see bibliography. 



States, where they were identified by Dr. P. C. Standley, of the Field 
Museum of Natural History, and Dr. H. A. Gleason, of the New York 
Botanical Garden. The author gratefully expresses his thanks to 
these two men for their assistance. 

Much of the material gathered in this manner duplicated that 
which has already been published. For 125 of the plants collected 
nothing new was learned, the information merely verifying that which 
is found in the literature. For the remaining 100 plants some new 
ethnological data were discovered, and it is the purpose of this 
paper to present only the new material. In a few instances facts 
appear which have already been published; they are added merely 
to make the picture more complete. It can be said, though, that for 
each of the plants described below some new information is published 
for the first time. 

The spelling of most of the scientific names was taken from the book 
by Standley, while the Maya and Spanish spellings were checked from 
Roys' study. Page references are given to the works of these authors 
immediately following the scientific names of the plants considered, 
and the reader is referred to them for additional information. 

The Maya names for plants often include prefixes describing the 
color or some other noticeable feature of the plant. The reader will 
benefit by knowing the most common of these. Chac in Maya means 
red : yax green ; ya yax blue ; zac, white ; kan, yellow : and ox, black. 
The letter X before a word indicates the definite article. Che means 
tree, and cambal means a small, low bush. Xcambal, then, means 
"the small, low bush." 

The 100 plants are arranged alphabetically according to their scien- 
tific names. Then follow the Maya and the Spanish names, a brief 
description of the plant, and the previously unpublished ethnological 
material. An alphabetical list of the plants arranged according to 
their Maya names appears at the end of the description of plants 
(p. 218). 


1. Abrus precatorius L., X-oco-ak (Maya), Pionia (Spanish). Standley, 289; 
Roys, 296. 

This climbing vine has purplish flowers and red and black seeds. 
The latter are used as beads to make eyes for Maya dolls. Babies who 
suffer from diarrhea, called ojo and caused by an "evil eye" or an "evil 
wind," are bathed in a decoction of the leaves of this plant. The leaves 
may also be roasted, ground, and made into a salve, which is applied 
to the heads of babies so afflicted. 


2. Abutilon trisulcatum (Jacq.) Urban, Zac-xiu (Maya). Standley, 345 ; Roys, 


In Maya this plant is also called Zac-mizib, meaning white broom. 
Several branches of the shrub, which has small yellow flowers, are 
tied together and used as a broom. Medicinally, the leaves are crushed 
and rubbed on canker sores of the mouth. They are also ground and 
mixed with water and given to children suffering from asthma, the 
dose being two spoonfuls every hour. 

3. Acacia Collinsii Safford, Zubin (Maya), Cornezuelo (Spanish). Standley, 

275 ; Roys, 312. 

The Zubin is a thorny tree whose leaves and flowers begin to appear 
in early April. There are no leaves on the tree during the dry season. 
The aromatic roots, eaten by moles, are used as bait in traps, especially 
constructed to catch the animals. Each large, hollow thorn is inhabited 
by a colony of red ants, which enters through a hole at the top of the 
spine. Tliere is always just one hole in each pair of thorns, and two 
or more ants inhabit each pair. Wasps commonly hang their nests 
from the branches of this tree. 

3 a. A. Milleriana Standi., Chimay (Maya). Standley, 276. 

This is another species of Acacia. It is also armed with stout 
spines and grows on very poor soil called Tz-kel (Maya). The wood 
is used for the larger upright poles in the side walls of Maya houses 
and is further employed in making axles for carts and for planting 
sticks. In the dry season deer eat the fruit of this tree. Medicinally, 
the leaves are used in a concoction for coughs and colds. 

4. Achras Zapota L., Ya (Maya), Zapote (Spanish). Standley, 378; Roys, 


The thick, white sap of this large, uncultivated tree furnishes the 
chicle of chewing gum. The fruit is round like an apple and has 
a rough skin ; the fleshy part is a dark-orange color and is eaten by 
birds, wild mammals, and man. The wood is fine-grained. As a 
medicine the thick, rough bark is boiled and drunk for diarrhea. 
The gum is mixed with salt and held in the mouth for toothache. 

5. Acrocomia mexicana Karw., Tuk (Maya), Cocoyol (Spanish). Standley, 

217 ; Roys, 288. See plate 22, figure 1. 

These palm trees are found in great numbers in Yucatan. The 
trunk and fronds of the palm are armed with long, black spines. 
Because these spines are very difficult to remove from the flesh, they 
often cause infection and as a consequence are thought to be, poison- 
ous. Rosaries and rings are made from the seeds, and people of 
wealth put gold inlays into the rings, thinking that they will bring 
good luck. The fruits resemble small coconuts and are eaten raw 
or cooked in honey, sugar, or molasses. The bark of the tree is some- 


times used as a foundation for Maya elevated gardens called canche. 
Soil is placed in the bark container and vegetables are grown in it. 

6. Adenocalymna fissum Loes., Ak Xux (Maya). Standley, 417. 

Ak Xux is apparently a local name for this plant. Roys does not 
mention it and Standley lists the scientific name with several differ- 
ent Maya names. The words "Ak Xux" may be translated as vine 
basket. This vine, which grows only in the high bush, is used by 
the Maya in making their harvest baskets. 
6a. A. pimctifolium Blake, Zac-bach (Maya). Standley, 417. 

This is another species of the vine, the bulbs of which are used by 
the Maya in the treatment of asthma. 

7. Aloe vera L., Hunpedz-kin-ci (Maya), Sabila (Spanish). Standley, 227; 

Roys, 246. 
This stemless perennial herb, native of the jNiediterranean, resem- 
bles a small henequen plant and grows abundantly in Yucatan. The 
leaves are made into soa^) which is an excellent shampoo and may 
be bought in the Merida market. The pulp from the leaves is 
applied locally for headache and neuralgia or it may be thoroughly 
washed and boiled with the roots of the Put Xiu {Lepidium virgini- 
cwm L.), resulting in a concoction which is said to be good for coughs 
and colds. 

8. Alvaradoa amorphoides Liebm., Bezinic-che (Maya), Palo de ormigas 

(Spanish). Standley, 312; Roys, 217. See plate 22, figure 2. 

This tree grows 10 to 15 meters tall, has lacelike leaves, and grows 
abundantly in the Chichen Itza bush. It has small greenish flowers 
in long racemes. A decoction of the bark of the tree has been used 
consistently for skin diseases. One modern yerbatero (herb doctor) 
uses the leaves of this plant in the treatment of urinaiy disorders. 
Another mixes the leaves in warm water and prescribes the mixture 
as a bath for those suffering from rheumatism, while still another 
advocates giving a concoction of the leaves, honey, and corn silk to 
a patient with a hemorrhage. 

9. Annona Cherimola Mill., Pox (Maya), Cherimoya (Spanish), Custard 

apple (English). Standley, 266; Roys, 279. 

This large tree, cultivated for its fruit, grows high and has soft 
wood and rough bark. The round, thorny fruits have a strong smell 
and when ripe are of brown and yellow color. The sweet, yellow 
pulp is full of filaments between and around the seeds. Although 
the fruit is edible, the Maya believe that if one eats too much of it 
one will contract malaria. In Yucatan the pulverized seeds are used 
as an insecticide. A decoction of the leaves is mixed with deer's 
tallow and smeared on the feet of those sufferincr from fever. 

Anthrop. Pap. NO. 20] YUCATAiS" PLANTS — STEGGEiRDA 197 

9 a. A. squamosa L., Dzalmuy (Maya), Saramuyo (Spanish). Standley, 268 ; 

Roys, 313. 
This species is a smaller tree which has narrow leaves. The heart- 
shaped edible fruits, known as sweet sops, are white when ripe and 
are sweet and pulpy. In Yucatan the seeds are ground to a powder 
and used to kill lice on human beings. 

10. Bauhinia ungulata L., Chac-dzulub-tok (Maya), Pata de venado (Span- 

ish) . Standley, 283 ; Roys, 233. 
Near Chichen Itza this rather small tree is called Chac-dzulimtok. 
It has red flowers and reddish-brown leaves. Because of their pli- 
ability, the young trees are used to bind together the upright poles 
which form the walls of Maya houses. A decoction of the leaves is 
said to alleviate urinary disorders and cases of diarrhea. 

10 a. B. divaricata L., (Zac-dzulub-tok (Maya), Pata de vaca (Spanish). 

Standley, 282 ; Roys, 308. 

This species of Bauhinia is also a small tree and grows abundantly 
in the Yucatan bush. An herb doctor of Piste says that dry coughs 
are cured by drinking a decoction of the flowers of this plant mixed 
with sugar. Boiled leaves are said to be good for complaints of 
the liver and kidney. 

11. Bignonia unguis-cati L., Ek-kixil-ak (Maya). Standley, 418; Roys, 241. 
This black, woody vine spreads over the ground. It has pointed, 

hooked tendrils and large, dark-green leaves. Since it is very dur- 
able, it is used commonly to tie beams and rafters in thatched Maya 
houses and to make wicker-work doors. The most tender vines are 
used to make the Maya baskets, vv^hich are called xaac. As a medicine 
the tender stems and leaves are cooked and the water is drunk for cases 
of bronchitis and cataiTh. Crushed raw leaves are applied to cuts 
or wounds to stop bleeding. 

11 a. Another species of Bignonia, known locall}^ as Zac-ak, is 
used for tying bundles of wood. The water in which the leaves and 
stems are boiled is used in a bath for cases of muscle twitching. 
Neither Roys nor Standley lists this plant. 

12. Bixa Orellana L., Kuxub (Maya), Achiote (Spanish). Standley, 359; 

Roys, 260. 

This moderately tall bush has large, oval leaves and white flowers. 
It grows wild but is occasionally cultivated. The orange-colored seeds, 
which grow in prickly husks, are used as a flavoring for stews and 
also as a coloring for Maya food. The independent reports of five 
local yerbateros regarding the medicinal value of this plant show 
that two use the leaves to alleviate headaches; two prescribe wash- 
ing the seeds in warm water and giving the water to patients in the 
first stages of measles (this, they believe, causes the measles to develop 


quickly) ; and one adds that this water is also good for patients suffer- 
ing from astliina or stomach ache, 

13. Blechum pyramidatum (Lam.) Urban, Akab-xiu (Maya). Standley, 422 ; 

Roys, 214. 
This is a small herb or weed which grows abundantly in the 
Chichen Itza area. In colonial times it was prescribed for coughs, 
snake bites, chills and fever. Today three herb doctors boil the 
leaves and use the water to bathe children who sweat unduly at 
night. The natives tell that often babies sweat so much that their 
skm appears to have salt on it. In such cases the leaves of the 
Akab-xiu are applied, either boiled or raw. 

14. Blepharodon mucronatum (Schl.) Dene., Xhulkin Xiu (Maya). 

This is a small vine which never attains a length of more than 
1 meter. Its sparse, paired leaves have a biting, antiseptic quality. 
The older leaves have a purple undercolor, whereas the young leaves 
are dark green above and light green below. In the region of Dzitas 
the plant is known as Chac-cancel Xiu. The entire plant is crushed 
and the juice applied as an antiseptic. The crushed leaves are used 
for snake bites and to reduce swellings. Neither Standley nor Roys 
lists this plant. 

15. Bourreria pulchra Millsp., Bacal-che (Maya). Standley, 395; Roys, 215. 
This is a common tree which has a straight trunk and very thick 

bark. The scraped bark has the color of iodine and is applied to 
sores and wounds as an antiseptic. 

16. Bromelia Karatas L., Chom (Maya), Pinuela (Spanish), Wild pineapple 

(English). Standley, 221; Roys, 238. See plate 22, figures 3 and 4. 

This plant has large leaves along whose edges are hooked thorns 
which do not all point in the same direction on a given leaf. Thus 
one might find four or five thorns pointing downward and the next 
two or three curving upward. Consequently the Maya are particu- 
larly cautious when in close contact with this plant. The plant bears 
a cluster of blue flowers. Eaten raw, the fiiiits are irritating to 
those with delicate tongues and palates, since the fruits are covered 
with very small nettles. The Maya rub these nettles off on the 
ground, believing that if they are blown off the fruit becomes sour. 
When cooked, the fruits are agreeable in taste. Commonly they are 
cooked in the same kettle with corn, giving the Chom a special flavor. 
The skinned fruits are cooked with sirup and served as a dessert. 
There is a popular Maya riddle about the Chom. "Guess, guess, if you 
can, boy. A slothful man has corncrib in the bush." Answer: The 
Chom plant, because the appearance of the fruits as they grow on the 
plant closely resembles the appearance of the stacked corn and corn- 

Anthrop. Pap. NO. 291 YUCATAN PLANTS — STEGGEiRDA 199 

17. Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Kurz, Zizal-xiu (Maya), Siempreviva 

(Spanish) . Standley, 274; Roys, 310. 

This is a common plant which is exceedingly hardy. It will grow 
well if given water and soil even after remaining in a dry botany press 
for as long as 6 months. The cup-shaped flowers are in bunches and 
are used widely for ornamentation. The Maya believe that if a baby 
plays with the flowers of the Siempreviva he will have ill luck with 
raising chickens when he grows older. The flowers, they believe, leave 
an invisible stain on the hands which later affects the eggs. 

18. Bursera Simaruba (L.) Sarg., Chacah (Maya), Palo mulato (Spanish). 

Standley, 313; Roys, 227. 

The red bark of this common, large tree is thick and scaly. Its wood 
is soft and the sap produces an aromatic gum. The wood is used in 
making match sticks and boxes and for preparing a pib (underground 
fireless cooker) . The charcoal obtained from the Chacah is mixed with 
gunpowder and used in assembling fire bombs and rockets. Fire can 
be made from the friction caused by rubbing together two pieces of 
this wood. The leaves are used to clean out the inside of beehives. 
The gum was formerly burned as incense in ceremonial rites. Because 
it burns slowly, the Chacah is often used on Maya hearths to keep a 
fire burning. 

19. Byrsonima bucidaefolia Standi., Zac-pah (Maya), Nancen agria (Span- 

ish). Standley, 314. 

This is a small tree which grows wild in the Yucatan bush. Its fruit, 
eaten both by people and by deer, is extremely sour, but the Maya like 
it with salt or dipped in vinegar or aniseed liquor. Some cook it in 
sugar and make a dessert of it. 

20. Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L.) Swartz., Chac zinkin (Maya), Flor de 

camaron (Spanish), Standley, 284 ; Roys, 232. 

This is a small hardwood tree or shrub, the branches of which are 
armed with sharp spines. Various parts of this tree have been widely 
used in medicine for dysentery, ulcers, amenorrhea, and venereal 
diseases. One modern herb doctor prescribes drinking the liquid from 
the boiled root of this tree as a purgative. Another advocates a 
decoction of the flowers to be used for bronchitis and lung trouble. 
Still another mixes the leaves with water and uses the liquid in cases 
of diarrhea. 

20a. C. plaUjloba Wats., Chacte (Maya). Standley, 284; Roys, 232. 

This species is also common. The hard, red wood is employed chiefly 
for corner posts or cross and horizontal poles in the construction of 
Maya houses. 


21. Callicarpa acuminata HBK., Zac-puc-yim (Maya). Standley, 399; Roys, 

This small, spreading tree is common in the thickets of Yucatan. 
It has white, sweetly scented flowers and small black fruit. The leaves 
are crushed, mixed with water, and drunk in cases of dysentery. There 
is another variety of this tree, called Kan-puc-yim, which has yellow 
flowers. The leaves of this tree are crushed in cold water and drunk 
to cure diarrhea. 

22. Calocarpurn mammosum (L.) Pierre, Chacal haaz (Maya), Mamey (Span- 

ish). Standley, 379 ; Roys, 228. 
The Mamey is a large, spreading tree with soft, flexible wood, thick 
bark, and white sap. The leaves are sometimes more than a foot in 
length. The fruit is borne on the tree throughout the entire year and 
is eaten raw or made into preserves. The seeds of this fruit are roasted 
and ground into powder which, when mixed with water, is given to a 
sufferer to stop vomiting. The Maya have a riddle concerning the 
fruit of the Mamey. "Guess, guess, if you can, boy. A black man is 
lying in blood." Answer : It is the Mamey fruit, the pulp of which 
is red, and the seed, black. 

23. Capsicum frutescens L., Max-ic (Maya), Chile del monte (Spanish). 

Standley, 408; Roys, 264. 

This species of chile, growing wild in Yucatan, has very small pods 
and is extremely "hot." It is used as a seasoning when the species called 
X-muc-ic is not available. Birds eat the seeds of this plant. Although 
it was used widely in colonial times for medicine (see Roys, 1931), 
modern yerbateros do not use it. It is common knowledge to both 
doctors and yerbateros that the root is highly poisonous, and it is said 
to be used sometimes for purposes of deliberate poisoning. 

24. Casearia nitida (L.) Jacq., Ixim-che (Maya). Roys, 249. 

This is a low, spreading tree, the fruit of which is eaten by birds. 
Its bark is scaly, and in the dry season the tree sheds its leaves. The 
wood is used in house construction. It is said that there are two kinds 
of Ixim-che, one with small leaves and another with large leaves. For 
bile disorders and diseases of the spleen, the Maya bathe in water in 
which Ixim-che leaves have been boiled. 

25. Casimiroa tetrameria Millsp., Yuy (Maya). Standley, 306; Roys, 301. 
This tree has a thick trunk and soft, light wood which is used 

especially when burning limekilns. Its green or yellow fruit is 
eaten by human beings, birds, and deer. Wild bees produce a very 
sweet honey from the nectar of its small, greenish flowers. The 
trees are usually hollow and bees commonly build their hives in 


26. Cassia emarginata L., X-tu-ab or X-tu-hahin (Maya), Barba de jolote 

( Spanish) . Standley, 286 ; Roys, 287. 

This medium-sized tree has hard MOod, thick branches, oval-shaped 
leaves, and yellow flowers. The wood is used in the building of 
Maya houses. Medicinally, the leaves are shredded and inhaled by 
those having a nosebleed. This is believed to stop the hemorrhage. 

26 a. C. villosa Mill., Box-zal-che (Maya). Standley, 288; Roys, 308. 

The leaves of this tree are considered to be efficacious in the treat- 
ment of skin irritations and fungus growths. The treatment calls 
for toasting the leaves in hot ashes, crushing them in salt, and 
applying them to the affected area. 

27. Cecropia obtusa Trecul, X-koch-le (Maya), Hoja de higuerilla (Spanish). 

Standley, 244; Roys, 256. 

This is a tree 5 to 10 meters high which grows in black soil. The 
leaves are broad and resemble those of a horse chestnut. One yerba- 
tero prescribes grinding the leaves with salt and applying them to the 
white spots developed on the skin in Pinto disease. He says that 
tlie spots will disappear in 3 days. Another herb doctor boils the 
flowers with sugar and gives a dose of 2 teaspoonfuls of this con- 
coction to patients with colds. Four applications are usually sufficient 
to break up a cold. 

28. Cedrela mexicmia M. Roem., Kulche (Maya), Cedro (Spanish). Standley, 

310; Roys, 258. See plate 23, figure 1. 

The Kulche is a large tree with thick bark and medium-hard wood 
which furnishes perhaps the most widely used lumber of Yucatan. 
Its numerous small white flowers expel a pungent odor. The sticky 
sap is used by the Maya as mucilage. The fruits open up when 
dry, and Maya children make toys of them. There are no leaves 
on the tree during the dry season. When the leaves appear in May, 
it is a signal for the Maya to plant corn. They tell that many trees 
begin to send fortli their leaves with the first rains in March and 
April, but not the Cedro, for it does not put forth its leaves until the 
real rains begin. 

29. Ceiba aesculifolia (HBK.) Britt. & Baker, Piim (Maya), Pochote (Span- 

ish). Standley, 352 ; Roys, 276. 

The trunk of this large tree bears conical spines. The cotton 
surrounding the seeds is used for making pillows. The Maya believe 
that as the cotton is blown about by wind at noon, it is set on fire 
by the hot sun, and that if this blazing cotton falls on a thatched 
house, the house will burn. The boiled young fruits are eaten as 
a vegetable; the roasted seeds are also eaten. It is said that the 
young shoots were eaten in ancient days as a "hard times" food. 
Maya mothers object to their baby boys playing with the fruits of the 

435660 — 43 14 


Piini; they think it will make them effeminate and have large 
breasts. They liave the same belief concerning the fruit of the 
Yaxche tree (29 a). 

29 a. C.pentandra (L) Gaertn., Yaxche (Maya), Cibo (Spanish). Standley, 
352; Roys, 298. 
This tree is also known as the Kapok tree. 

30. Celtis iguanaea (Jacq.) Sarg., Zidz-muc (Maya). Standley, 242; Roys, 

This vine has alternate branches which are covered with spines. 
Tts flowers are white and its yellow fruits are eaten by man and birds. 
The juice of the plant is used for sore eyes, but too much of it aggra- 
vates the condition and even causes blindness. The leaves are boiled 
and the water is used as a bath to reduce fever. 

31. Cereus undatus Haw., Chac-uob (Maya), Pitahaya roja (Spanish). 

Standley, 367; Roys, 232. See plate 23, figure 2. 
This large, spiny vine bears edible red-skinned fruits in July and 
August. The vine is crushed, put into cold water, and used as a 
shampoo by the Maya. There are two varieties of this plant, one 
called Chac-uob and the other, Zac-uob. In checking the Maya 
spelling, the informant insisted that it should be spelled "uo" instead 
of "uob." 

32. Chlorophora tinctoria (L.) Gaud., Kanklische (Maya), Mora (Spanish). 

Standley, 245. 
In Yucatan this is a common tree, often bearing long spines. The 
strong, hard wood is customarily used for the pestles of chocolate 
mixers. The sap is applied to cotton and put into a decayed tooth 
to relieve toothache. 

33. Cissus rhombifolia Vahl, X-tab-canil (Maya). Standley, 342; Roys, 281. 
This is a large, woody vine with red or green flowers. The fruits 

are small, black berries. The vine is not tough like other lianas 
and is, therefore, not used in house construction. Occasionally, the 
medicine men use it to construct their tables for temporary ceremon- 
ies. Medicinally, the bark, crushed in water, is used to wash wounds 
and sores. When the wound is thoroughly clean, the crushed bark 
is applied. 

34. Citrus Aurantium L., Zudz-pakal (Maya), Naranja (Spanish). Standley, 

307; Roys, 273. 

Like all citrus fruits, sour oranges are of Spanish importation. 
Although extremely sour and unappetizing, these fruits are some- 
times eaten raw or are used in washing game meat and fowl to remove 
the game taste. The sour juice is used as vinegar. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. -29] YUCATAN PLANTS — STEGGEiRDA 203 

34 a. C. sinensis Osbeck., Chuhuc-pakal (Maya), Naranja de China (Spanish), 
Standley, 308; Roys, 239. 
From the flowers of this sweet orange a distillate is made which is 
used widely in Yucatan for flavoring refreshments. A refreshing 
beverage is also made from its leaves. Another citrus fruit called 
X-mek-pakal (Maya) has a unique flavor not unlike that of the 
tangerine. The fruit is rough-skinned, as if infected with disease. 

35. Clusia flava Jacq., Chunup (Maya). Standley, 358; Roys, 240. 

This large, hardwood tree is frequently found in Yucatan. It has 
large, thick leaves, yellow flowers, and fleshy fruit. It is useful as 
a shade tree. The Maya heat the leaves of the Chunup and apply 
them to a protruding navel. 

36. Coccoloba Schiedeana Lindau, Bob or Bob-che (Maya). Standley, 253; 

Roys, 217. 
This is a large, tall tree with thick leaves and white flowers. Its 
large leaves are used to wrap tortillas and the Spanish candy, 
Melcocha. Its fruit is eaten by birds. After the removal of the 
bark, the hard wood is used in house construction, particularly for 
the center beams. 

37. Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott., X-cucut-macal (Maya), Macalito (Span- 

ish). Standley, 224. 
This is an annual plant which is planted during the rainy season. 
It has very large leaves and an edible root, which is cooked and eaten 
with honey. The Maya believe that a man who owns setting hens 
must not eat this plant, for if he does the eggs will not hatch. How- 
ever, if the hen itself is fed a peeled and cooked macal, the eggs 
will hatch. 

38. Corchorus siliquosus L., Chichibe (Maya), Malva bisco (Spanish). 
This plant has many seeds, and it ranges from 3 centimeters to 1 

meter in height. Its small, pointed leaves are eaten by chickens, 
turkeys, and pigs. It is used by modern Maya to relieve the bite of 
a pic bug {Triatoma dimidiata). This plant, also called Xmichiyuc 
by some Maya, is not listed by either Roys or Standley. 

39. Cordia globosa (Jacq.) HBK., Hau-che (Maya). Standley, 397; Roys, 


This shrub has a woody root, strongly scented white flowers, and 
red fruit. Because the leaves are utilized solely as a seasoning in 
the cooking of the armadillo to remove its peculiar, disagi^eeable 
smell and taste, the plant is called oregano uech, which is half Spanish 
and half Maya meaning, literally, "seasoning the armadillo." 


40. Crescentia Cujete L., Luch and Huaz (Maya), Jicara (Spanish). Stand- 

ley, 418; Roys, 262. 

There are two varieties of this small tree, both of which have 
thick bark. One variety is called Luch and the other, Huaz. The 
former is the cultivated variety, which bears round fruits. The latter 
is the wild variety, bearing oval-shaped fruits whose pulp has a 
stronger odor than that of the Luch. Both varieties belong to the 
species Cujete. Wlien cut in half, the gourd is called a jicara and 
is employed as a dish or bowl. The Maya believe that the Luch must 
be planted on the 24th of June for St. John the Baptist ; if planted 
on any other day, the fruits will fall off. If the tree does not bear, 
the Maya beat the tree (this holds true for other fruit trees as well) 
with a bejuco, nine lashes, on the 2'lth of June ; it must not be beaten 
any other time. The Maya also hang the heads of horses, the horns 
of cattle, and pigs' heads in the Luch tree to make it ashamed of 
itself for not bearing fruit. 

41. Croton humilis L., Ic-aban (Maya). Standley, 321; Roys, 247. 

This low, slender, aromatic shrub is commonly found in Yucatan. 
The natives say that it is a poisonous plant possessing such a strong 
scent that it causes the eyes to w^ater. If cows or horses hit its 
branches with their heads, their eyes become sore, and they will be 
blind unless their e^'es are washed with salt water. Ticks breed in 
its white flowers. It is used as a broom to sweep the fleas from 
Maya homes. 

42. Dalhergia glabra (Mill.) Standi., Cibix (Maya). Standley, 293; Roys, 


This common vine has small, white flowers. The Maya use its 
strong and flexible bark as rope to bind together the heavy beams 
in their thatched houses and, instead of chains, to lift water con- 
tainers from norias (wells). The roots are believed to have a bene- 
ficial effect in the treatment of dysentery. 

43. Diospyros cuneata Standi., Silil (Maya). Standley, 377. 

This tall tree grows chiefly in the southern part of Yucatan and its 
fruit is eaten by birds, particularly parrots. The wood is burned 
on the hearths and in limekilns. It is rarely used for house con- 
struction, as it disintegrates very rapidly. 

44. Diphijsa carthagenensis Jacq., Dzudzuc (Maya). Standley, 294; Roys, 316. 
This tall tree, wliich has light-yellow flowers, grows abundantly 

in the bush near Chichen Itza. It has been used consistently through- 
out Yucatan history for sores and open wounds, and independent 
statements from five Indian herb doctors stress the vahie of the sap 
of this tree in such cases today. One adds, "Nine drops of the raw 
juice from the leaves of this plant when taken in a small amount 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 29] YUCATAN PLA]STS STEGGEiRDA 205 

of water are good for red dysentery." Another says that five or six 
applications of the sap of this tree will cure the chiclero ulcer. 

45. Ditaxis tinctoria (Millsp.) Pax & HofFm., Pixton ojo (Maya). Standley, 

The Maya boil the leaves of this small herb and in the resulting 
Avater they bathe their babies who are believed to have been be- 
witched by the "evil eye" of a drunken person. This plant is espe- 
cially efficacious on Mondays and Fridays. Babies who have just 
been weaned are also bathed in such water. 

46. Dorstenia Contrajerva L., X-cambalhau (Maya), Contrayerva (Spanish). 

Standley, 245; Roys, 222. See plate 23, figure 3. 
This small perennial plant has large, deeply lobed leaves and 
grows abundantly in sahcab holes (limestone pits) around Chichen 
Itza. It has been used consistently over a long period to alleviate 
disorders of the alimentary canal, especially the stomach, and may 
be bought as a root or extract in the Merida drug stores. In early 
times X-cambalhau was prescribed for a great variety of ailments, 
including colds, pain in the heart, insect bites, diarrhea, dysentery, 
indigestion, childlDirth, irregular menses, blood-vomit, liver complaint, 
sores, gout, tumors, skin diseases, and infected gums (Roys, 1931, p. 
222). Today the plant is known to modern doctors in Merida as 
an antidote for all poisons and is employed as a stimulant tonic 
and diaphoretic in fevers, dysentery, diarrhea, and indigestion. 
Among the herb doctors the plant is used chiefly to cure digestive 
disorders and to treat poisonous snake bites. For digestive dis- 
orders the root is generally cooked with sugar or honey and the con- 
coction taken by the spoonful. Sometimes the root is toasted and 
then ground into a povcder and mixed with pozole or cotfee. 

47. Ehretia tinifolia L., Beec (Maya), Sanco (Spanish). Standley, 397; 

Roys, 217. 
This very large, hardwood tree, known commonly by the Spanish 
name Roble as well as by those given above, is common in Yucatan 
forests and grows profusely in white soil (sahcab). It has thick 
bark, and its wood is sometimes used to make furniture — ^benches and 
tortilla tables. The Maya say that the wood must be cut by the full 
moon to prevent its decaying. During the entire dry season some 
leaves remain on this tree. Orange shoots may be grafted onto the 
trunk of the Beec with success. For pyorrhea the leaves of the Beec 
tree are cooked and the liquid used as a mouth wash. The treatment 
calls for three or four applications a day. Baths for sores and 
wounds are prepared by boiling the leaves of this tree. The fruits 
are eaten bv birds and mammals. 


48. Elytraria squamosa (Jacq.) Lindau., X-cabal-xaan (Maya). Standley, 

423; Roys, 221. 
This small, common weed has short, leafy stems and purple spike 
flowers. It is called X-cabal-xaan because it resembles a small palm 
tree. The Maya say that a whole plant boiled in a half quart of 
water is given to women suffering from venereal diseases. 

49. Erythroxylon brevipes DC, Ici-che (Maya). Standley, 304. 

This is a small, spreading tree which has tiny, white flowers and 
beanlike fruits with black seeds. The hard wood is used widely in 
house construction for the roof poles which support the thatch. 

50. Eupatorium odoratum L., Tok-aban (Maya). Standley, 444; Roys, 286. 
This is a rather uncommon shrub in the vicinity of Chichen Itza. 

In colonial times it was used in the treatment of gonorrhea and 
malaria. One modern herb doctor uses a decoction of the leaves in 
cases of stomach ache and kidney trouble. Another uses the root 
boiled in salt water as a purgative, and two others emphasize the 
value of the cooked leaves in the treatment of kidney trouble. 

51. Euphorbia hirta L., Xanab-mucuy (Maya), Yerba de polio (Spanish). 

Standley, 325; Roys, 293. See plate 23, figure 4. 

This small, common weed, also known as Golondrina in Spanish, 
spreads over the ground along the roadsides in Yucatan. Its leaves 
are small and the light-red stems contain a milky sap. It has 
been used consistently from colonial times to the present to alle-viate 
sore eyes. Four of the six modern herb doctors consulted stated that 
they use the juice of this plant to reduce inflammation of the eyes. One 
added that the boiled leaves are used in cases of dysentery and 
still another said that three or four of the plants should be boiled 
and the liquid drunk as a diuretic for bladder and kidney trouble, 
adding that this liquid dissolves 'the sand in the kidneys." 

52. Ficus cotinifolia HBK., X-Cop6 (Maya), Alamo (Spanish). Standley, 

245 ; Roys, 226. See plate 24, figure 1. 

This is a very large tree with aerial roots (see pi. 24, fig. 1). It 
is one of the first trees to appear on dirt-covered stone ruins in 
Yucatan and its spreading roots, after taking hold in the ground, 
soon cover the entire mounds. The milky sap contained in the 
branches is said to be good for healing cuts and bruises. 

53. GUriciduL sepium (Jacq.) Steud., Zac-yab (Maya), Madre de cacao (Span- 

ish) . Standley, 295 ; Roys, 307. 

This tree is commonly found in Yucatan. It has showy, pinkish 
flowers and extremely hard wood which is used for many purposes, 
especially for the corner posts of Maya houses. The Maya relate 
that the wood is so hard that axes are often broken when used to 
cut down these trees. 


54. Guettarda elliptica Sw., Cib-che (Maya), Arbol sabroso (Spanish). 

Standley, 249. 

Cib-che is a small tree which was employed in colonial times 
(Roys, 1931, p. 224) as an antidote for spider and snake bites and 
to alleviate cases of dysentery. Today it is no longer used medic- 
mally, according to the four yerbateros consulted. Another tree, 
Mynca mexicana^ or wax tree, is also known as Cib-che and is listed 
as such by Roys (1931. p. 224) . 

54 a. G. Combsii Urban, X-tez-lob (Maya). Standley, 429. 

This tree does not attain a great circumference but it does grow 
tall. It has broad, rough leaves and a very thin bark. It is used 
m the construction of houses, especially for the slanting poles which 
support the thatched roof. 

55. Hamelia patens Jacq., X-kanan (Maya). Standley, 429; Roys, 250. 
This small tree has red. acid fruits which are sometimes eaten 

by man. The leaves are toasted over a fire, crushed, and applied to 
hands having blisters. This is believed to harden the blisters. The 
treatment is also used for sores, wounds, and cases of eczema. 

56. Helicteres baruensis Jacq., Zutup (Maya). Standley, 355; Roys, 313. 
This shrub is about 2 meters high and bears red flowers. Its hard 

and woody fruit is spiral in shape. If a Maya child is slow in leam- 
LQg to talk, the fruit is twisted over the baby's tongue, after which 
the Maya say that the baby soon will begin to talk. This method 
was used on the brother of the author's informant. It is said that 
this boy did not learn to talk until he was 5 years old, however. 

o7. Indigo f era suffruticosa Mill., CB,oh (Maya), Auil (Spanish), Indigo 
(English). Standley, 296; Roys, 238. 

The Choh is a common weed with a stiff, gray stem and dark blue- 
green leaves. The fruits hang from the stem in short pods in 
clusters of 12 to 15, Indigo was formerly made from the plant and 
extensively cultivated for exportation, but this practice has been 
discontinued. The bluing extracted from the small oval leaves was 
used as a bleaching agent. The Maya sometimes used this material 
to make blue marks on the foreheads of children suffering from 
stomach trouble caused by an ''evil eye." 

58. Ipomoea Nil (L.) Roth., Tzotz Kabil (Maya). Standley, 391. 

This greenish-yellow vine is thin and hairy and has blue, pink, or 
purple flowers. It causes much trouble in the milpas. It is gathered 
like Ramon, Brosimum Alicastrum Sw., for horse feed. 

58 a. I. Batatas (L.) Lam., Iz (Maya), Caniote (Spanish), Sweetpotato 
(English) . Standley, 390 ; Roys, 249. 

The sweetpotato is not widely cultivated by the Maya. The leaves 
of the ^^ne are said to be used in the treatment of snake bites. 


59. Jatropha aconitifolia Mill., Chay (Maya), Chaya (Spanish). Standley, 

328 ; Roys, 234. 
The Cliay is a small tree or shrub with soft wood, thick, soft bark, 
and milky sap. It bears white flowers. The green leaves, which are 
armed with nettles, are boiled with salt and eaten by the Maya as 
we eat spinach. The sap is used as mucilage. It is also said to 
be used in the treatment of urinary diseases. The Maya believe in 
evil spirits called Uays. For example, Uay Uacax is an evil spirit 
which takes the form of a cow, and Uay Keken is an evil spirit in 
the form of a pig. For a sheep, it is Uay Taman ; for a goat, Uay 
Chivo. To beat these Uays, the Maya use the branch of a Chay 
bush. They believe that the more you beat with it, the stiffer the 
Chay becomes. They have also a snake called Chay Can which is 
thought to eat the leaves of the Chay bush. This snake is said to 
have two tails and is thought to pursue nursing women. The Maya 
say that this snake sucks the breasts of the women, and while doing so, 
inserts the two tails into the nostrils of the woman, causing her death. 

59 a. J. Gaumeri Greenm., X-pomol-che (Maya), Piiion (Spanish). Standley, 
329 ; Roys, 278. 

This shrub, which grows 2 or 3 meters high, is very common in 
the dry forests of Yucatan. It has soft, thick bark, very milky 
stems, and large leaves. The hollow stems are used by children for 
blowing soap bubbles, and the branches are used for making whistles. 
The herb doctors use the ground root of the plant in the treatment 
of snake bites. The water in which the leaves of the plant have been 
boiled is said to reduce malarial fever. 

60. Krugiodendron ferreiim (Vahl) Urban, Chim-tok (Maya). Standley, 

341; Roys, 237. 

This is a tall tree, known only in Yucatan (Standley, 1930, p. 342). 
Its hard wood is used in house construction. Because of the hard- 
ness of the wood the milperos, when cutting their fields, often leave 
the Chim-tok standing. The bark and roots have been used in Yuca- 
tan from colonial times to the present as a mouthwash for toothache 
and giun trouble. One yerbatero adds that the roots of this tree 
can be boiled and the liquid drunk as a purgative. He warns, how- 
ever, that while using this medicine, the patient should not eat chile, 
pork, or any form of lard. 

61. Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standi., Lee (Maya). Standley, 435; Roys, 


This large vine, a cultivated plant of Yucatan, is planted amiually 
in May and is not to be found in the dry season. Its large leaves 
have a disagreeable smell. It has showy, white flowers, and dry, 
hard, fruitlike gourds. These gourds are used by the Maya as dip- 
pers. Medicinally, the leaves are applied to stomachs of babies with 


62. Lasiaci^ niscifolia (HBK.) Hitchc, Zit (Maya). Standley, 204; Roys, 

The Maya refer to this coarse, woody shrub with grasslike leaves 
as Zit. Standley and Roys list it as Mehen Zit. The fruits are like 
small bullets. The stems are knitted into carpets by Maya women. 
The hollow reeds are used as whistles by Maya boys and also for 
sucking up water from a low haltun (shallow water hole). 

63. Leucaena glauca (L.) Benth., Uaxim (Maya). Standley, 278. See 

plate 24, figure 2. 

This tree is found frequently in Yucatan growing in black soil. 
It grows rapidly and has white flowers and lacelike leaves. It is 
said by the Maya that when horses eat the leaves of the tree, the 
hairs of their tails fall out. Don Juan Martinez, an eminent Maya 
scholar, said that all Maya people believe this to be true, although 
there is no scientific proof to substantiate the belief. He adds that 
they are as convinced of this as they are that a guava tree will grow 
where an apple seed is planted. The Maya do not burn the wood 
of the Uaxim tree in their fires, because the Maya women use wood 
ashes to soften water, and ashes from the Uaxim tree mixed with 
water are very irritating to the skin. 

64. Lonchocarpus longistylus Pittier, Balche (Maya). Standley, 296; Roys, 


This is a rather large hardwood tree having purplish flowers. 
Much has been written about the intoxicating drink, Balche. made 
from the bark of the tree (Standley, 1930, pp. 296-297; Roys, 1931, 
p. 216). The Maya have various mythological beliefs concerning 
the tree: e. g., they believe that if a man has setting hens he must not 
drink Balche, for then the eggs would not hatch, the chicks dying in 
their shells. 

65. Lucuma htjpoglauca Standi., Choocli (Maya), Zapote bianco (Spanish). 

Standley, 380; Roys, 238. 

This medium-sized tree has large leaves and fruit with a thick, 
hard, brownish-green husk. Its acid pulp has a pleasant flavor. 
Concerning the fruit of the Zapote bianco, an informant says that 
when ripe it is not edible, because it has fermented. However, just 
before it is ripe, the Maya will pound it and roll it in hot wood 
ashes, saying each time until it becomes soft : 

Ocen takan 
Hoken Cheche 
Ocen takan 
Hoken Cheche. 

Then it is broken and eaten and is said to be delicious. The mean- 
ing of the first Maya phrase, "Ocen takan," is "Go out, greenness," 
or "Come into maturity." "Hoken Cheche'' means. "Ripen, please, 


and don't stay green any more." The Maya believe that the words 
make the fruits edible. 

66. Malmea depressa (Baill.) Fries., Box elemuy (Maya). 

Medium in size, this hardwood tree has thick bark and medium- 
sized leaves. The wood is used in house construction and for ax 
handles. Medicinally, the root is cooked with corn silk and the water 
drunk by those suffering from gonorrhea. It is also drunk to 
alleviate kidney and bladder trouble. Neither Standley nor Roys 
lists this plant under either the common or scientific name. 

67. Metastelma Schlechtendalii Dene., Chimes ak (Maya). Standley, 389. 
This slender vine, with its whitish flowers, is frequently found in 

Yucatan. The root is boiled and the liquid used to rinse the mouth 
in case of canker sores. The rinse may be repeated several times, but 
one must not swallow the liquid. 

68. Metopium Brownei (Jacq.) Urban, Box chechem (Maya), Palo de rosa 

(Spanish) . Standley, 334 ; Roys, 234. 

This is a large tree which has hard wood and small, round leaves. 
Its flowers are white, its fruits purple. Bees produce black-combed 
honey from the flowers. The w^ood is poisonous when in contact 
with the skin. To counteract this poisonous action, urine is applied 
to the skin. In addition to this use of urine, the Maya use it in the 
following ways : (1) Maya people often put urine in their bath water 
to stave off a cold. (2) If the placenta is not forthcoming when a 
Maya woman is in labor, she is given a cupful of urine (generally 
from the father). When the woman coughs or tends to vomit 
because of the urine, she expels the placenta with the same force. 
(3) Fever patients are washed with urine to cool their brows. (4) 
When making poultices of leaves and plants, urine is often used as 
a solvent. (5) If children have earache, urine is poured into the 
ears and it is said to cause immediate relief. The urine of small 
boys is said to be most effective. 

69. Mimosa hemiendyta Rose & Robinson, Zac-catzim (Maya), Pepinillo 

bianco (Spanish). Standley, 279; Roys, 303. 

This tree, which grows about 3 to 5 meters high, has pink flowers, 
small leaves, and trunk and branches armed with short spines. The 
hard wood is used in Yucatan for the corner posts of thatched houses. 
This plant was used in colonial times to cure coughs and colds. 
(Roys, 1931, p. 303). Today the yerbateros use it in the same man- 
ner. One says that the bark of this tree is boiled with salt and the 
liquid drunk at night for coughs and colds. He adds that the other 
species, Box-catzim (69 a), can also be used but that it is less effective. 

Another yerbatero adds that it is just as effective for a patient with 
a cold to chew the bark. 

Antheop. Pap. NO. 291 YUCATAjST PLANTS — STEGGEiRDA 211 

69 a. An unidentified species of Mimosa is called locally Box- 
catzim (Standley, 1930, p. 279). The dry limbs of this tree are 
always used for starting milpa fires and as torches by the Maya 
when traveling over a trail at night. The wood is used in house 
construction and for making husking pins at corn harvesting time. 
It also produces good charcoal. 

70. Morinda yucatanensis Greenm., X-hoyoc (Maya), Pinuela (Spanish). 

Standley, 430; Roys, 245. 

X-hoyoc is a slender vinelike shrub with small leaves and white 
flowers which grows in the bushlands of Yucatan. Its fruits are eaten 
by chachalacas (birds like pheasants). The fruit, although spherical, 
is divided into many segments. It has the appearance of sore eyes, 
according to the Maya. The Maya call granulated eyelids "X-hoyoc," 
and the juice of this plant is used for its treatment. 

71. Musa sapientum L., Haaz (Maya), Guineo (Spanish), Banana (Eng- 

lish) . Standley, 235 ; Roys, 244. 

The banana tree was probably brought to Mexico shortly after the 
arrival of the Spaniards. There are as least five varieties to be found 
in Yucatan. Their names in Spanish are Blanco, Morado, Manzano, 
Barbaro, and Curro. The fruits are generally smaller than those 
grown in the West Indies. 

72. Neomillspaughia emarginata (Gross) Blake., Zac-itza (Maya). Standley, 

254 ; Roys, 304. 

In the brushlands and low forests of Yucatan this is a common tree 
with large and tough leaves. Its white flowers, from which bees make 
honey, grow in clusters. The straight-grained wood is used for the 
handles of the Maya machetes and for parts of the looms on which 
cotton cloth and sabucans are woven. However, its extensive root 
system causes a great deal of trouble in the milpas. The leaves are 
boiled and the liquid drunk for coughs and colds. 

73. Ocimum micranthum Willd., X-cacal-tun (Maya), Albahaca (Spanish). 

Standley, 406; Roys, 221. 

This small, annual weed is aromatic and very common in Yucatan. 
It has a tiny stem and branches, and small, white flowers. The curly 
whitish leaves are rubbed on horses to prevent the bites of horseflies. 
The Maya plant this weed near graves and also put it in a flowerpot 
and on the altar of the church. The whole plant is boiled and the 
liquid drunk to cure cases of dysentery. 

74. Persea americana Mill., On (Maya), Aguacate (Spanish), Avocado, or 

alligator pear (EngUsh). Standley, 269; Roys, 271. 

This tall tree, a native of Central America, is used especially for 
its fruit. It has soft wood and oval, fragrant leaves and grows wild 
in the dry cenotes (water holes) or in cultivated gardens. In Yucatan 


it flowers in March, and the edible fruit ripens in August. In case 
of fever, fresh leaves from this tree are applied to the feet of the 
patient. Very young and tender leaves may be boiled with sugar and 
the liquid used as a cough medicine. 

75. Petrea arborea HBK., Opp-tzimin (Maya), Bejuco de caballo (Spanish). 
This vine has rough, thick, sandpaperlike leaves and purple-blue 

flowers in clusters. These flowers are very attractive for ornamenta- 
tion. Horses feed on the plant. 

76. Phaseolus vulgaris L., Buul (Maj'a), Frijol (Spanish), Standley, 300; 

Roys, 218. 
There are several varieties of beans in Yucatan. The Buul, or com- 
mon black bean, is used extensively for food, as is another small black 
bean, called X-pelon in Maya. 

76 a. P. lunatus L., lb (Maya), Frijol (Spanish), Lima bean (English). 
Standley, 300; Eoys, 247. 
The lima bean grows both wild and cultivated in Yucatan. The 
Maya believe that the pods of the lb are poisonous to pigs. A variety 
called lb ceh has brown seeds. The Maya say that a disease called 
X-cel imil which affects only women and begins in the breast, causing 
first pain followed by chills and fever, can be stopped in 2 or 3 days 
by applying lb ceh leaves to the breasts. If this plant is not found 
and used, pus soon develops and a severe illness ensues. The pain is 
said to resemble that caused by the bite of a tiger ant. 

77. Phyllanthus glaucescens HBK., Ppix-thon (Maya), Standley, 332; Roys, 

This shrub, called Ppix-thon-ojo by the Maya of Piste, bears round 
fruits with hard shells and has large, oval leaves. The Maya believe 
that the plant is efficacious, especially on Mondays and Fridays, for 
bathing babies who have diarrhea. They recommend it as a curative 
for illnesses caused by evil eyes. When a Maya child is weaned, it is 
given a ceremonial bath in the liquid from the boiled leaves. The 
Maya children make a plaything of the fruit. The leaves are cooked 
and used as a bath in cases of pellagra. 

78. Phytolacca icosandra L., X-tel-cox (Maya). Standley, 262; Roys, 284, 
This is a large, juicy herb with a thick root and purple berries. It 

has big leaves and light-pink flowers. The fruits of the plant are 
boiled and the resulting liquid is drunk to cure smallpox. The in- 
formant related that this medicine caused the pox to "break out," for 
if it remained "inside," the patient died. The raw leaves of this 
plant are crushed and rubbed on pimples and sores. 

79. Piscidia communis (Blake) Harms.. Habin (Maya). Standley, 301 ; Roys, 

In the dry forests of Yucatan this tree is commonly found. Its 
large, fragrant, pinkish flowers grow in clusters, and its hard brown- 


colored wood is very durable, making it excellent for the construction 
of doorframes, railway sleepers, corner posts of Maya houses, and 
corncrib floors. It is very attractive when inlaid with cedar and 
other softwoods. The bark is cut off the tree and shaped to hold the 
Maya jicaras. To cure coughs and colds, a cough syrup is made by 
boiling nine tender leaves with sugar. 

80. Pisonia aculeata L., Beeb (Maya), Una de gato (Spanish). Standley, 
261 ; Roys, 217. 
Common in the thickets of Yucatan, this shrub or thick-stemmed 
vine has long and drooping branches which are armed with stout 
spines. The wood is soft. The club-shaped fruits and the white 
flowers secrete an exceedingly sticky substance. INIodern herb doc- 
tors recommend that the root of the shrub be ground to a powder and 
mixed with that of Hyhanfhus yucatanensis (Zac-bacal can) for local 
application in cases of snake bites. Small plants are boiled and ma- 
laria patients bathe in the resulting liquid to reduce their fever. A 
use for Beeb branches is to place them over the open parts of chicken 
coops so that bats become entangled in the thorns, which are so strong 
and peculiarly hooked that the Maya also use them to retrieve buckets 
that have fallen into wells. 

81. Playitago major L., Yanten (Maya), Llanten (Spanish). Standley, 425; 

Roys, 298. 

This is a perennial herb with small, green flov.-ers and large, thick, 
leathery leaves. The young leaves are boiled and the liquid used as 
a medicine for diarrhea. It is considered an excellent medicine for 

82. Pleonotoma diversifolium (HBK.) Bur. & Schum., Ne-maax (Maya),Rabo 

de mico (Spanish). Standley, 398; Roys, 269. 

The Maya use the term "Ne-maax" for two plants — P. diversifol- 
iuvi and Heliotrophwi angiospermum Murr. The plant called Ne- 
maax in this description refers to P. dlversifolmm. It has wrinkled 
leaves, and its long spine of fruit resembles a monkey's tail — hence its 
name Ne-maax. According to one herb doctor, the leaves of this plant 
are boiled with honey and the liquid taken four times a day by women 
to stop premature labor in childbirth. According to three other 
yerbateros, it is said to alleviate dysentery. Still another herb doctor 
uses this liquid as an enema. 

83. Pluchea odorata (L.) Cass., Chal-che (Maya), Santa Maria (Spanish). 

Standley, 451; Roys, 233. 

This is a tree or shrub which grows about 5 meters high in the 
region of Chichen Itza. It grows in towns and rarely in the dense 
bush. Its flowers are pink and appear in clusters; its fruits hang 
in bunches; its large leaves are aromatic. It has been used con- 
sistently for aches and pains, for complaints of the womb, and (o 


regulate the menstrual flow. The six yerbateros consulted regarding 
the medicinal uses of this tree are from various parts of Yucatan, and 
since their prescriptions are so varied they all are given below, along 
with the names of the yerbateros and their locations in Yucatan. 

Benito Cauich (Piste) — The leaves of the Chal-che and the leaves of the 
sour orange are cooked together with honey. This concoction is used as a tonic, 
for an aching chest and stomach, and to regulate menstrual periods in women. 
The prescription calls for 1 tablespoonful every hour. When using this medicine 
the diet also must be regulated ; for example, no pork, lard, or cold water may 
be used ; beef is permissible. 

Marcelino Caute (Pencuyut) — The leaves and branches of this tree are 
cooked, and an individual who is troubled with twitching muscles is told to 
bathe in this water for relief. This twitching of the muscles is thought to be 
caused by evil winds of the woods. 

Louis Zapata (Chapab) — About an ounce of the leaves of this plant are 
cooked with some honey and given in three doses to women suffering from 

Epifanio Ceme (Chan Kom) — For bad cases of rheumatism the leaves of this 
tree are warmed and applied to the legs, and then wrapped on securely with 

Martiniano Dzib (Piste) — The leaves of this tree are boiled, and the water 
is used to give the Maya woman her first bath after childbirth. Sometimes the 
leaves of the sour-orange tree are also used. 

Pedro Castillo (Dzitas) — The leaves are used for relieving fever by covering 
them with tallow which has been mixed with ground coffee and binding them 
tightly over the soles of the feet. A decoction of the boiled leaves is given to 
women in labor. 

84. Plumeria alba L., Zac-nicte (Maya), Flor de Mayo bianco (Spanish). 

Standley, 383; Roys, 306. See plate 24, figiire 3. 

This medium-sized tree, extensively cultivated in Yucatan, has 
soft wood and white sap. It has grayish-white bark, large leaves, 
and brilliant wltite or red flowers in bunches. The Maya believe that 
the Uay, or witches, use these flowers in their ceremonies. The sap of 
the red-flowered tree is used to reduce swellings. 

85. Portulaca oleracea L., Xucul (Maya), Verdolaga (Spanish), Pusley 

(English) . Standley, 263 ; Roys, 296. 

This common, low-spreading weed has tiny, yellow flowers and 
small, oval leaves. Since chickens, turkeys, and pigs eat it, the pusley 
is sold in the Merida market for them. One modern herb doctor 
says that a decoction of this plant is an efficacious remedy for worms. 

86. Psidium Sartorianum (Berg) Niedenzu., Pichi-che (Maya). Standley, 

373; Roys, 276. 

The Pichi-che is a tall tree nearly 20 meters high frequently found 
near Chichen Itza, and it is not to be confused with the Pichi or 
guava (see No. 87). It has smooth, gray bark and juicy red or 
greenish-yellow fruit which has a spicy flavor. The fruits are small 
and not edible for man but are eaten by the wild pig. The hard wood 
is used for the poles of Maya houses and for machete handles. There 


have been no consistent medicinal uses for this plant. In colonial 
times, "Tlie leaves [were] boiled and the decoction given for epilepsy 
or employed as a bath. The toasted leaves [were] squeezed into the 
ear to cure earache" (Roys, 1931, p. 276). Today two herb doctors 
prescribe a decoction of the leaves as a bath for pimples and skin 
eruptions. Another uses the decoction as a bath for relieving night 
sweats. One herb doctor says that the roots are cooked and the liquid 
is drunk by those suffering from dysentery. 

87. Psidium Guajava L., Pichi (Maya), Guayaba (Spanish). Standley, 373; 

Roys, 276. 

The Pichi, one of the most common fruit trees of tropical America, 
grows to be 5 to 7 meters high and has hard wood and smooth, shiny 
bark of medium thickness. It bears white flowers. There is also a 
wild guava tree which the Maya use for house construction. The 
leaves of this variety are placed in bath water and are said to induce 
perspiration. A further use for the water is to soothe skin irritations. 

88. Psychotria microdon (DC.) Urban, Bacelac (Maya). Standley, 430. 
This is a stout shrub bearing long, greenish-white flowers. The 

leaves are boiled and the water is used for bathing babies having 

89. Rauwolfia heterophylla Roem. & Schult., Cabal-muc (Maya). Standley, 

385; Roys, 220. 

This plant is also known as X-cambal-muc. It is a common low 
shrub about 1 meter high, containing a milky sap and bearing white 
odorous flowers from which bees gather nectar to make honey. The 
fruits are nearly black at maturity. The bark is used by tobacco 
farmers to give odor and color to tobacco. In Yucatan the juice of 
this plant has been used consistently since the colonial period in the 
treatment of sore eyes. Care must be taken, however, that only a 
small amount be used, for too much causes blindness. The directions 
call for only one application a day. One yerbatero adds that the 
root of this shrub is ground to a powder and applied to open wounds 
in which fly maggots have already appeared. 

90. Ricinus cormnunis L., X-koch (Maya), Higuerilla (Spanish), Castor-bean 

(English). Standley, 332; Roys, 255. 
This soft-stemmed herb, very common in Yucatan, produces the cas- 
tor-bean from which castor oil is made. It has large, slender leaves 
and reddish beans. Oil from the seeds is used as a purgative. To pre- 
pare castor oil, the natives roast the beans in the husk and then shell 
the beans and grind them. This material is boiled and the oil 
which rises to the surface is skimmed off and used. Wlien a woman 
desires to stop her flow of milk in weaning her baby, she selects 13 
small twigs of the X-koch tree and ties them about her neck. 


91. Ruellia tuberosa L., X-cabal-yaxnic (Maya), Yerba de la calentura (Span- 

ish). Standley, 425 ; Roys, 221. 
This is a perennial herb with small, bhie flowers and opposite 
leaves. The leaves are boiled and the liquid is drunk for chronic chest 
colds, called Postemas. Maya mothers, when annoyed by their chil- 
dren, say, "Hach postema ech," which means, "You are just a chest 

92. Sesamum oricntale 'L.,Z\c\\-]iXiViZ (Maya), Ajonjoli (Spanish). Standley, 

416; Roys, 309. 
This plant, a native of the East Indies, has wdiite or pink flowers. 
The seeds, whicli are very tiny, round, and flat, are used to thicken 
broth and for sweetmeats. One of the rich Maya dishes, papa-Dzul, 
is prepared with these seeds. Mexicans also prepare a rich dish 
called mole with the seeds. The seeds are ground, mixed with masa, 
and given to nursing mothers to increase their milk flow. The seeds 
of the Kamon tree (Ox in Maya and Brosimum Alicasti'um Sw., 
scientifically) are used more extensively for this purpose. 

93. Smilax mexica-na Griseb., X-co-ceh (Maya), Zarzaparilla (Spanish). 

Standley, 229; Roys, 225. 
This thorny vine is common in the Yucatan bush. It has a hard, 
thorny stem and long, flexible, thorny leaves; the small flowers are 
purplish brown; the fruit is a black berry. From this plant the 
Maya make the crown of thorns for the figures of Christ which are 
found in some of the churches. 

94. Spondias purpurea L., Abal-ac (Maya), Ciruela (Spanish). Standley, 

335 ; Roys, 213, See plate 24, figure 4. 
The Abal is a small, very common tree with few thick branches. 
Its red or purple flowers produce small red or green fruits, varied 
in size and shape, which ripen in April and resemble plums. When 
eaten raw, they remind one of preserved green olives because of 
their size and large seeds. The plums are boiled with meat in stews. 
There are several varieties of the Abal, for example: hantunil abal, 
Campech abal, Tuxpana abal, Zabac abal, Tuxile and Houen abal. 
Our slang expression for a beautiful girl is "peach." In Maya, the 
people say, "Bey chiabale," which imjjlies, "She's very pretty — nice, 
fat, and smooth." 

95. Thouinia paucidentata Radlk., Kan-chunup (Maya). Standley, 340; Roys, 


This is a tall tree which, according to Standley, is endemic in 
the Yucatan Peninsula. Its hard wood is used in the construction of 
Maya houses. The bees make very sweet honey from the nectar of 
its whitish flowers. The Maya believe that the tree contains a charm 
against bad or evil winds. A modern yerbatero recommends boiling 
its bark for treating snake bites. For a severe cough, the bark of 
this tree is boiled in salt water and a half cup of the liquid drunk 


at night. The leaves of the chunup are also u^sed for healing the 
chiclero ulcer, or the sap may be applied directly to the wound. 

96. Tragia yucatanensis Millsp., Ppoppox (Maya), Ortiguilla (Spanish). 

Standley, 333; Roys, 278. 

This is a climbing vine with small leaves. The stems are armed 
with nettles. The Maya formerly used this plant to whip their 
children when they were naughty, especially if they were inclined 
to run away from home. Rubbing the leaf on an aching part of the 
body causes an irritation which feels good. The boiled roots are 
said to be used in the treatment of gonorrhea. The roots are boiled 
and the water is drunk to relieve stomach ache. 

97. Urera caracasana (Jacq.) Griseb., Laal (Maya), Ortiga de caballo (Span- 

ish). Standley, 248; Roys, 261. 
This shrub, frequently found in Yucatan, is covered with nettles. 
Its green flowers produce small, red fruits. The plant is used widely 
for medicinal purposes. The roots are boiled with honey and the 
liquid is used for stomach ache and as a vermicide. The leaves are 
also boiled and crushed for their juice, which is mixed with the juice 
of 9 or 13 oranges. The mixture is then heated and the resulting con- 
coction given to babies with diarrhea. The leaves, wrapped in a 
cloth and tied on the head, are said to be good for headache. 

98. Viquiera dentata (Cav.) Spreng. var. helianthoides (BHK.) Blake, Tah 

(Maya), Romerillo de la costa (Spanish). Standley, 455; Roys, 281. 

This common weed is tall and branching. The stems are used 
for sky rockets, and in Pencuyut they are used to make corn bins by 
tying the stems together in the form of a mat. 

99. Zea mays L., Ixim (Maya), Maize (Spanish), Corn (English). Stand- 

ley, 210; Roys, 249. 

In Yucatan, maize grows tall, sometimes as high as 5 meters, and 
often produces two or three small ears on each stalk. The kernels 
are rather soft and generally white or yellow in color. The Maj^a 
cultivate maize by a method known as "milpa culture," which consists 
of cutting and burning the bush and planting the maize in the un- 
plowed field. The corn plot is used for only 2 or 3 years, after which 
it is allowed to revert to the bush and a new area is selected. Maize 
is the chief source of food of the Maya, comprising 75 to 85 percent of 
their diet. They hold maize in very high esteem, calling the growing 
corn "Chichpan gracia," which may be translated as "beautiful grace" 
or more freely "beautiful gift." They believe that if one is not 
careful about preserving loose kernels of corn, one will soon come 
to misery. 

100. Zuelania guidonia (Swartz) Britt. & Millsp., Tamay (Maya), Volador 

( Spanish ) . Standley, 362. 

The Tamay is a tall trce with thick bark and large pointed leaves. 
It bears small, greenish-M^iite flowers in dense clusters, and its berry- 

435660—43 15 



[Bull. 136 

like, fleshy fruit is edible. The fruits are roasted before being eaten. 
Its wood is used in house construction. One herb doctor said that 
the leaves of this tree are boiled with the leaves of the X-taben-tun 
tree and the water is used as a bath to reduce fevers. 


Maya name 

Scientific name 



Ak Xux 







Bob or Bob-che. . 


Box chechem 

Box elemuy 




X-cabal-yaxnic_ . 





Chacal haaz 

Chac-cancel Xiu. 



Chac zinkin 





Chimes ak 










X-cucut-macal . 

Spondias purpurea L 

Blechum pyramidatum (Lam.) Urban. _. 

Adenocalymna fissum Loes 

Bourreria pulchra Millsp 

Psychotria microdon (DC.) Urban 

Lonchocarpus longistylus Pittier 

Pisonia aculeata L 

Ehreiia tinifolia L 

^1 Ivaradoa arnorphoides Liebm 

Coccoloba Schiedeana Lindau 

Alim osa sp.? 

Mctopium Broivnei (Jacq.) Urban 

Malmea depressu (Baill.) Fries . 

Cassia villosa Mill 

Phaseolus vulgaris L 

Rauwolfia heterophylla Roem. & Schult. 

Ruellia tuberosa L 

Ocimum micranthum WiUd 

Dorstenia Contrajerva L 

Elytraria squamosa (Jacq.) Lindau 

Bursera Simaruba (L.) Sarg 

Calocarpum mammosurn (L.) Pierre 

Blepharodon mxicronatum (Schl.) Dcue_ 

Bauhinia ungulata L 

Caesalpinia platyloba Wats 

Cereus undatus Haw 

Caesalpinia pulcherrinia (L.) Swartz 

Pluchea odorata (L.) Cass 

Jatropha aconiiifoHa Mill 

Cor chorus siliquosus L 

Acacia Milleriana Standi 

Metastelma Schlechtendalii Dene 

Krugiodendron ferremn (Vahl) Urban. _ 

Indigofera suffrulicosa MiU 

Bromelia Karaias L 

Lucuma hypoglauca Standi 

Citrus sinensis Osbeck 

Clusia flava Jacq 

\Guettarda elliptica Swartz 

[ Myrica rnexicana 

Dalbergia glabra (Mill.) Standi 

Smilax rnexicana Griseb 

Ficus cotinifolia HBK 

Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott 



/STf7Z)r— Continued 

Maya name 

Scientific name 

Plant No. 











lb ceh 























Pichi __. 



Pixton ojo 





Put Xiu 




Annona squamosa L 

Diphysa carthagenensis Jacq 

Bignonia unguis-cati L 

Musa sapientum L 

Piscidia communis (Blake) Harms 

Cordia globosa (Jacq.) HBK 

Morinda yvcalanensis Grecnm 

Crescentia Cujete L 

Aloe vera L t 

Phaseolus lunatus L 

Phaseolus lunatus L., variety 

Croton humilis L 

Erythroxylon brevipes DC 

Zea mays L 

Casearia nitida (L.) Jacq 

Ipomoea Batatas (L.) Lam 

Thouinia paucidentata Radlk 

Hamelia patens Jacq 

Chlorophora tinctoria (L.) Gaud 

Callicarpa sp.? 

Ricinus communis L 

Cecropia obtusa Tr^cul 

Cedrela mexicana M. Roem 

Bixa Orellana L 

Urera caracasana (Jacq.) Griseb 

Lagenaria siccraria (Molina) Standi 

Crescentia Cujete L 

Capsicum frutescens L 

Citrus sp.? 

Pleonotoma diversifolium (HBK.) Bur. & 

Schum. or Heliotropium angiospermum 


Capsicum sp.? 

Abrus precatorius L 

Persea americana Mill 

Petrea arborea HBK 

Psidium Guajava L 

Psidium Sartorianum (Berg) Niedenzu 

Ceiba aesculifolia (HBK.) Britt. & Baker.. _ 

Ditaxis tinctoria (MiUsp.) Pax & Hoflfm 

Jatropha Gaumeri Greenm 

Annona Cherimola Mill 

Tragia yucatanensis Millsp 

Phyllanthus glaucescens HBK 

Lepidium virginicum L 

Diospyros cuneata Standi 

Cissus rhombifolia Vahl 

Viguiera dentata (Cav.) Spreng. var. helianr- 

thoides (HBK.)tBlake, 

9 a 
76 a 

See 76 a 
58 a 
See 21 

See 34 a 

See 23 








59 a 




See 7 






[Bull. 136 


STUDY— ContinueA 

Maya name 

Scientific name 

Plant No. 





X-tu-ab or X-tu-habin... 


Tzotz Kabil 



Xhulkin Xiu 







Zac-bacal can 













Zidz-muc_ . 



Zuelania guidonia (Swartz) Britt & Millsp. 

Phytolacca icosandra L 

Guettarda Combsii Urban 

Ewpatorium odoratu m L 

Cassia emarginata L 

Acrocomia mexicana Karw 

Ipomoea Nil (L.) Roth 

Leucaena glauca (L.) Benth 

Euphorbia hiria L 

Blepharodon mucronatum (Schl.) Dene 

Portulaca oleracea L 

Achras Zapota, L 

Plantago jnajor L 

Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn 

Casimiroa tetrameria Millsp 

Bignonia sp? 

Hybanthus yucatanensis 

Adenocalymna punciifolium Blake 

Mimosa hemiendyta Rose & Robinson 

Bav.hinia divaricata L 

Neomillspaughia emarginata (Gross) Blake. 

Plumeria alba L 

Byrsonima bucidaefolia Standi 

Callicarpa acuminata HBK 

Cereus undatus Haw 

Abutilon trisulcatum (Jacq.) Urban 

Gliricidia septum (Jacq.) Steud 

Sesamum orientate L 

Lasiacis ruscifolia (HBK.) Hitche 

Celtis iguanaea (Jacq.) Sarg 

Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lam.) Kurz 

Acacia Collinsii Saflford 

Citrus Aurantium L 

Helicteres baruensis Jacq 



64 a 











29 a 


11 a 

See 80 

6 a 


10 a 





See 31 










The reader is reminded that in the main the material presented 
herein is new and does not include the abundant data which have 
already been published on the flora of Yucatan except for isolated 
pertinent facts which are necessary for descriptive purposes. As a 
result of careful editing and the omission of reiterative material, this 
study comprises only 100 plants; but the uses accredited to them 
by the Maya are great in number and diversified in nature. On the 
practical side these plants include woods used for various parts of 


house construction and for furniture, toys, torches, skyrockets, ox- 
carts, ax handles, and animal traps. Some of the plants are employed 
in making common household articles such as soap, shampoos, and 
mucilage, while others are used for ornamentation in the form of 
rings and similar jewelry. A number of them provide food for man, 
wild animals, birds, and insects. Their prevalent use is to cure 
diseases, 46 of which are said to be efficaciously treated by 60 of 
the plants herein listed. 

The art of healing among the Maya is a precarious procedure at 
best, for the Indians know little or nothing of modem medical prac- 
tices, and their own brand of medicine is a mixture of folklore, 
superstition, and herbal concoctions. Ordinarily geographically far 
from and often mentally indifferent to scientific medical assistance, 
the Maya resort to treatment by their native yerbateros (herb doc- 
tors) or medicine men (or women), who have no scientific training 
but recommend treatments which they have learned from practice, 
from other herb doctors, or from their own parents. Their remedies 
are prepared and administered with a maximum of supernatural 
rites. Certain numbers they consider important, nine especially. 
Many concoctions call for nine leaves of a plant, or nine drops of a 
medicine comprise a dose. A yerbatero is not always called in to 
treat a patient, for the Maya mothers have "home" remedies which 
they administer independent of the herb doctor. 

Wliether or not there is a pharmacological science involved in 
medicinal uses of plants by primitive people is often questioned. 
It is sometimes suggested that such studies be assigned entirely to the 
sphere of folklore. It is true that folklore is the prevailing influ- 
ence in native medicine, and it is the author's opinion that a large 
percentage of such prescriptions have no curative value whatever 
other than their psychological effect upon the patient. 

There seem to be four categories into which the Maya practice 
of cures can be divided. The fiist is that of pure superstition, based 
on taboos and necromancies, with no recognition of symptoms or 
specificity of treatment. The uses of Abrus jyrecatonus L., and 
Indigofera suffruticosa Mill, (plants Nos. 1 and 57) are proofs of this 
point. They are used in the treatment of disorders caused by the 
"evil eye" or bewitchment. 

The second category includes those diseases which are recognized 
definitely and are not accredited to any supernatural causes. Unfor- 
tunately, the cures prescribed are not often efficacious. For instance, 
the Maya recognize diabetes and its symptoms. They know that 
diabetic urine contains sugar, for one informant explained that ants 
gather around a container of diabetic urine to eat the sugar. Yet 
their cure for this malady is not to go to the hospital for insulin, but 


to use the roots and fronds of Acrocomia mexicana Karw. (plant No. 
5). Samples of the roots were analyzed by the Sqiiibbs Institute of 
New Brunswick, N. eT., and were found to be inert as far as a cure 
for diabetes was concerned. 

The third group includes those diseases which involve a simple 
or an elaborate curative process, but where the end results seem to 
depend upon the psychological factors involved. An interesting ex- 
ample of this is to be found in the Maya method of inducing or inhibit- 
ing human milk flow by the use of plants Nos. 90 and 92. Brosimv/m 
ANcastnim, Sw„ or Ox in Maya, a plant not considered in this 
study, is employed even more widely for inducing the flow of milk 
by both Maya and Spanish women. Stories are told by responsible 
persons of women, some as old as 60 years, who, by the use of vapor 
baths and additional feeding, are able to produce enough milk to 
supply nourishment for newly born babies. One such case the author 
has no occasion to doubt. It concerns the death of a young mother 
3 days after her child was born. The child's grandmother, who was 
about 60 years old, began to nurse the child and at the same time 
to eat nourishing food made from squash seeds, chaya leaves, and 
the seeds of the Ox tree. In a few days she began to produce "good 
thick milk" in sufficient quantities to nurse her grandchild until the 
child was 2 years old. 

Seeds from the Ox tree were tested by Dr. Robert W. Bates, 
biochemist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington at Cold 
Spring Harbor, N. Y., and were found to be inert as far as the crop- 
gland reaction in pigeons was concerned. The author believes that 
the Ox seeds have very little to do with the production of milk by 
the Maya women. It seems more plausible that the combination of 
nourishing food, vapor baths and massaging, and the tremendous 
desire on the part of the women to produce milk when it is desper- 
ately needed, are enough to start the flow of milk in some women. 
The nursing child is probably responsible for the increase in the 
amount and for the continuation of the milk output. 

The fourth group of diseases includes those which are recognized 
by the Maya and for which remedies are used that appear to have 
some therapeutic value. Certain purgatives are prepared from plants 
and are efficacious. The leaves of Valleriana, a plant used by the 
Maya for smelling salts, does have a pungent, sharp smell which has 
a stimulating action similar to our ammonia. A ginger tea is used 
as a sudorific and for stomach trouble, much in the same manner 
as we use it. 

In summarizing the medicinal uses of plants, it can be said that 
60 percent of the plants in this study have therapeutic properties 
ascribed to them by the Maya. They are used to treat, a great variety 



of diseases, including canker and other sores, insect bites, blisters, 
headaches, muscle twitching, vomiting, fevers, skin diseases, ulcers, 
and digestive, respiratory, and reproductive disorders. The diseases 
mentioned in this study and the numbers of the plants described in 
the text which are used to treat them are shown in the following 
alphabetical list. 

Diseases treated by plants and other specific uses of plants in human hygiene, as 

mentioned in this study 

Diseases treated and other hygienic uses 

Plants used (indicated by Nos. assigned in text) 

Amenorrhea and other menstrual disorders 

Coughs, colds, bronchitis, and catarrh 

Diarrhea and dysentery 

Fever, night sweats, and malaria 


Hemorrhage and nose bleed 

Liver, kidney, and urinary disorders 


Antidote for poisons 

Protruding navel 

Muscle twitching 

Disease of the breast 

Blisters on hands 

To stop vomiting 

To induce milk flow 

To stop milk flow 

Measles and smallpox 

Purgatives and stomach ache 


Skin diseases, eczema, pimples, and pel- 

Sore eyes 

Snake and insect bites 

Toothache and pyorrhea 

Venereal diseases 

Vermicides and insecticides 

Wounds, sores, and ulcers 

20, 83. 

2, 6 a, 12. 

3 a, 7, 10 a, 11, 20, 27, 69, 72, 74, 79, 

91, 95. 
1, 4, 10, 20, 21, 42, 46, 51, 61, 73, 77 a, 

81, 82, 86, 87, 97. 
9, 13, 30, 59, 74, 80, 83, 86, 100. 

7, 12, 97. 

8, 11, 26. 

8, 10, 10 a, 24, 50, 59, 66. 

a, 83. 

, 78. 

, 20, 50, 57, 60, 90, 96, 97. 

83, 96. 

26 a, 27, 55, 77, 86, 87. 

30, 51, 89. 
14, 38, 58 a, 59 a. 
4, 32, 47, 60. 
20, 48, 66, 96. 
9, 9 a, 85, 97. 

2, 14, 15, 20, 33, 44, 52, 55, 67, 78, 89, 

The economic importance of the native vegetation is great to the 
Maya, for trees and plants are used in all phases of house construction 
and in making household furniture. The Maya follow a definite 
pattern in building a bush house, using special trees for each step. 
Thus, the Zubin (No. 3), the Zac-yab (No. 53), the Zac-catzim (No. 
69), and the Habin (No. 79) are used for corner posts because they are 


hard and durable woods. The small, upright side poles are generally 
made from the Pichi-che (No, 86), while the poles supporting the 
thatched roof are from the Ici-che (No. 49). Certain vines or lianas 
are used to bind the upright poles of the houses, and the center beams 
and doorframes are constructed from trees whose wood is suitable 
for such purposes. 

Household articles and utensils are likewise made from specific 
plants. The customary broom for sweeping Maya houses consists of 
a bundle of the tough branches from the Zac-xiu (No. 2), whose leaves 
do not drop off readily. Another type of broom is made from the 
Ic-aban (No. 41), which has such a strong scent that it causes the eyes 
to water. It is this type which is used to sweep the fleas from Maya 

Because of the differences in the burning properties of various types 
of wood, the Maya select the soft, quickly burning Silil (No. 43) for 
cooking and for burning limekilns. Another tree, the Chacah (No. 
18), contains a gummy sap which renders the wood slow to burn. 
Consequently it is used on the hearths to keep a fire going when no 
cooking is being done. The Zac-catzim (No. 69 a) is employed for 
torches with which the milperos light the fires in their cornfields. 
Other selective uses of wood are to be found in the making of sky- 
rockets, the manufacture of mucilage, and the fashioning of baskets, 
toys, and crowns of thorns for the images in the Maya churches. There 
are even special leaves which are crushed and rubbed on horses to 
keep away bothersome horseflies. 

In the raising of maize, the chief source of food of the natives, the 
Maya wait until the Kulche (No. 28) puts forth its leaves. Trees 
with very hard wood are left standing in the milpa, for to cut them 
down would mean arduous work for the milpero. The Chechem tree 
(No. 68) is also allowed to remain in the milpa, because its wood is 
poisonous when in contact with the skin. 

As some American children become greatly excited when they see 
a dragonfly, which they believe "will sew up mouths," so do the Maya 
have certain unfounded beliefs about the relation of certain plants 
and animals. For example, they believe that the seed pods of 
Phaseolus vulgaris L. (No. 76 a) are poisonous to pigs and that an- 
other plant is poisonous to parrots. The long spines of Acrocomia 
inexicana Karw. are said to be poisonous, but it is the author's opin- 
ion that these spines are so long and sharp that they penetrate deeply 
into the flesh, causing infections which are interpreted as poisons by 
the Maya. If the Luch tree (No. 40) fails to bear fruit (which when 
dried supplies the dishes used on the Maya table), it is beaten with 
nine lashes on the 24th of June. Many other examples of these be- 
liefs are given in the text, but these suffice here to show that the Maya 


are steeped in superstition concerning the plant life around them. In 
fact, nature is an integral part of the lives of these people. At times 
it may bother and even terrorize them, but from nature they also 
receive some of their greatest comforts and satisfactions. 

Pl^TE 22 

1. Acrocomm mexicana Karw., Tuk (Maya), Cocoyol (Spanish). The trunk and 

fronds of this common palm tree are armed with long, black spines which, 
upon entering the flesh, sometimes cause infection and are, therefore, 
thought by the Maya to be poisonous. 

2. Alvaradoa amorphoides Liebm., Beziuic-che (Maya), Palo de ormigas (Span- 

ish). A decoction of the bark of this tree has been used consistently since 
early times by the Maya to alleviate skin diseases. 

3. Bromelia Karatas L., Chom (Maya), Pifiuela (Spanish). The wild pineapple 

has large, slender leaves with hooked barbs along the edges and bears blue 
flowers in a palmlike stem. 

4. The long, pointed fruit of the wild pineapple {Bromelia Karatas L.). Juice 

may be sucked out of the end of the fniit. Ordinarily it is boiled, for the 
fruit is covered with nettles which are irritating to the mouth. 

Plate 23 

1. Cedrela mexicana M. Roem., Kulche (Maya), Cedro (Spanish). Logs of the 

Kulche (Spanish cedar), which furnishes perhaps the best lumber of 
Yucatan. The tree has a very sticky sap, which is used by the Maya for 

2. Cereus undattis Haw., Chac-uob (Maya), Pitahaya (Spanish). This spiny, 

viuelike cactus, shown growing on a wall, also grows in trees. Crushed in 
cold water, it is used as a shampoo by the Maya. 

3. Dorsienm Cwifrajerfa L., X-cambalhau (Maya), Contra jerva (Spanish). This 

plant grows abundantly in limestone pits. It has been used consistently to 
alleviate disorders of the alimentary canal. Modem doctors employ it as a 
stimulant tonic and diaphoretic. 

4. EupliorMa hirta L., Xanab-mucuy (Maya), Yerba de polio (Spanish). The 

milky sap of this weed has been used since colonial times to reduce 
inflammation in sore eyes. The boiled leaves are believed to cure dysentery. 

Plate 24 

1. Ficus cotiniloUa HBK., X-Cop6 (Maya), Alamo (Spanish). The leaves of this 

huge tree furnish fodder, and its sweet fruit is edible. Note the hanging 
roots which have taken hold in the ground. 

2. Leucaena glanca (L.) Benth., Uaxim (Maya). This is a rapidly growing tree 

which bears white flowers. The Maya believe that if horses eat the lacelike 
leaves of Uaxim trees they will lose the hairs from their tails. 

3. Plumeria aJha L., Zac-uicte (Maya), Flor de Mayo bianco (Spanish). This 

medium-sized tree, extensively cultivated in Yucatan, bears exceedingly 
beautiful red flowers, which are used as decorations. The sap of the tree is 
used to reduce swellings. 

4. Spondias purpurea L., Abal-ac (Maya), Circuela (Spanish). This small tree 

has no leaves during February and Marcli. It bears small fruits which 
resemble plums and are commonly eaten by the Maya. 


CAENEX3IE Institution of Washington 

1936. Botany of the Maya area. Misc. Pap., 1-13. Publ. No. 461. 


1913. Plantas medicinales de Yucatan y guia medica practica domestica. 

Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. 
1913. a. Ilustruciones de la obra "Plantas medicinales de Yucatan." Merida, 
Yucatan, Mexico. 
GODMAN, F. D., and Salvin, O., Editors 

1879-1888. Biologia Centrali-Americana, vols. 1-5, London. 


1937. Yucatan before and after the conquest, with other related documents, 

maps and illustrations. Trans, with notes by William Gates. 


1933. The agriculture of the Maya. Southwest Review, vol. 19, No. 1, p. 65. 

1934. Preliminary sketch of the phytogeography of the Yucatan peninsula. 

Appendix, The grasses of the Yucatan peninsula, by Jason R. Swallen, 
Contr. Amer. Archeol., vol. 2, No. 12, Carnegie Inst. Washington 
Publ. No. 436, pp. 255-355. 

Martinez, Maximino 

1933. Las plantas medicinales de Mexico. Mexico D. F. 

Miixspaugh, Charles Frederick 

1895. Contribution to the flora of Yucatan. Field Columbian Mus., Publ. 4, 

Botanical Ser., vol. 1, No. 1. 

1896. Contribution II to the coastal and plain flora of Yucatan. Field 

Columbian Mus., Publ. 15, Botanical Ser., vol. 1, No. 3. 
1898. Contribution III to the coastal and plain flora of Yucatan. Field 
Columbian Mus., I'ubl. 25, BDtanieal Ser., vol. 1, No. 4. 
Roys, Ralph L. 

1931. The ethno-botany of the Maya. Tulane Uuiv. Middle Amer. Research 
Ser., Publ. No. 2. New Orleans. 
Standley, Paul Carpenter 

1930. Flora of Yucatan. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Publ. 279, Botanical Ser., 
vol. 3, No. 3. 
Swallen, Jason R. See Lundell, Cyrus Longworth, 1934. 



1. Ac I 

Jcana Karw. 

2. Alvaradoa amorphoides Llebm. 


3. Bromelia Kara/as L. 

Fruit of Bromelia Karatas L. 





1. Cedrcla mexicana AI. Roein. 

Cfreus undalus Haw. 

•» » V --.'' leK-lt— **,-•(> 

.' V 

3. Dorstenia Contrajerva L 

4. Euphorbia hirla L. 

PLANTS OF Yucatan. 



^••-^'>'Ai^„_^^^i5. ^"S 

1. Ficus co:i>:v-:i:i 1 1 UK. 

/,- , 

X,. - 

3. Plumeria alba L. 

4. SponJius purpuTt'd L. 



Bureau of American Ethnology 

Bulletin 136 

Anthropological Papers, No. 30 
A Description of Thirty Towns in Yucatan, Mexico 


Carnegie Institutio7i of Washington 
Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, New York 




Akil 232 

Caucel 232 

Chan Kom 232 

Chapab 233 

Chichimila 233 

Chumayel 234 

Cuncunul 234 

Dzan 234 

Dzitas 235 

Espita 235 

Ekpedz, Chikindzonot, Tixcacalcupul, and other Indiau villages south of 

Chichen Itza 236 

Holca 238 

Izamal 239 

Mama 239 

Mani 239 

Merida 240 

Motul . 241 

Oxkutzcab 241 

Pencuyut 241 

Progreso 242 

Teabo 242 

Tekit 242 

Ticul 243 

Tinum 243 

Tixhualahtun. 244 

Tizimin 244 

Uayma 245 

Valladolid 246 

Xocenpich 246 

Summary 247 

Bibliography 248 



25. Map of the State of Yucatan 248 

26. Typical scenes in Yucatan 248 

27. Spanish colonial churches 248 

28. Scenes of native life in Yucatan 248 




By Morris Steggerda 

Carnegie Institution of Washington 
Cold Sprivg Harbor, Long Island, New York 

At the present time, there are no written descriptions of Yucatan 
towns with the exception of a few in specific studies by scientists. 
Chan Kom, for instance, is described in a large sociological study 
(Redfield and Villa, 1934) ; Ebtun (Roys, 1939) and Chumayel (Roys, 
1933) are mentioned in connection with the historical documents 
which were found there; the past and present of Piste is described 
in a book by the author (Steggerda, 1941) ; Merida is described in 
tourist literature ; and a few Yucatan towns are mentioned in a Span- 
ish geography (Martinez, 1937). Other than these, very little has 
been written about Yucatan towns. Information for travelers con- 
cerning the relative size of the interesting towns in Yucatan, their 
industries, cenotes^ (see pi. 26, «), ruins (see pi. 26, e), and 
the percentages of Indians or mestizos among the population is not 
available as yet. The author describes here briefly 30 towns chosen 
from a list of approximately 100 which he visited during the course 
of a 10-year investigation. 

Towns in Yucatan are similar in the respect that they center around 
a square plaza on which one generally finds a large colonial church 
(see typical interiors, pi. 27, a and 5, and exteriors pi, 27, c-f). 
Another of the main buildings on this plaza is called a cuartel, which 
is the town meeting house. The church and the cuartel are built of 
stone. The other houses surrounding the plaza are also usually of 
stone, plastered over with mortar and often decorated with painted 
designs. These plastered homes are occupied by Spaniards, mestizos, 
and influential Indians. The common folk live farther from the plaza 
and generally in thatch-covered bush houses (see pi. 28, a and h). 
The streets are bounded with stone walls, and each yard is littered 
with limestone rocks (see pi. 26, c and /). The average family keeps 

1 In Yucatan most of the drinking water is obtained from natural water boles called 



chickens, one or more dogs, a few cows, and perhaps a horse. Most 
towns are built around one or more natural water holes, which are 
called cenotes. 

The towns described here are arranged in alphabetical order and 
can be located on the map shown on plate 25. 


Akil is a mestizo town located along the railroad between Merida 
and Peto. Akil is situated at the foot of a range of hills called in 
Maya the "Puc." In tliis region there is an abundance of soil, and, 
because of this, fruits and vegetables grow luxuriantly. There is 
a large church in the village under the jurisdiction of Oxloitzcab, 
and the patron saint of Akil is St. Agnes. The school in the town 
is taught by two teachers. Several Akil families make pottery uten- 
sils, which they invariably bake on Fridays, while others occupy 
themselves by weaving hats from "huano" leaves. The Indian town 
of Pencuyut, located rtlwut 7 kilometers to the northeast, uses Akil 
as its railroad center. 


This village is located 14 kilometers northwest of Merida. It is 
estimated to have a population of 400 working men or approximately 
2,000 inhabitants. There are no cenotes in the village, and the 
nearest one, Chen Ha, is located about 3.5 kilometers from Caucel. 
In front of the large Spanish church there is a lar^e grass-covered 
plaza with 2 cypress trees which, in 1938, were more than 40 feet 
high. The school here has about 50 children and 2 teachers. Pre- 
vious to 1939 only a cart trail led to the village, but at that time a 
new road between Caucel and Merida was opened to automobile 
traffic. There is also a narrow-gage track on which a gasoline car, 
formerly a streetcar in Merida, operates between Merida and Caucel. 

The town has no particular industry other than cattle raising, which 
seems to be the chief source of income. One man in Caucel has as 
many as 350 cattle, and there are others who have over 100 head. 
Chickens, turkeys, and vegetables are raised in large numbers for the 
Merida market. Most of the inhabitants have numerous fruit trees, 
which provide a succession of fruits throughout the year. The extra 
produce of these trees is sold in Merida. In the church there were 3 
Maya drums (tunkuls), which were used formerly by the Maya. 


Chan Kom is an Indian town of approximately 200 people and is 
located about 12 kilometers south and a little east of Chichen Itza. 
It was established by people from Ebtun who arrived between 1880 
and 1900. In 1910 the first school was established, and by 1926 the 


community was an active and enterprising pueblo. The men most 
active in establishing the modern town of Chan Kom are Epifanio 
Ceme, Eustaquio Ceme, Eleuterio Pat. Ignancio Batun, Guillermo 
Tamay, Transito Tec, and Tiburcio Caamal. They built the town 
around a large open cenote, and the most influential citizens built 
stone houses in the Spanish style, plastered smooth on the outside 
and decorated inside with painted ornaments. In 1938 there were 
at least a dozen of these stone houses, and two of them are two stories 
high. The town has an excellent school building and has had some 
remarkable school teachers, one of whom was Alfonso Villa, who has 
collaborated with some of the Carnegie Institution investigators. 

In 1932 Chan Kom's overambitious Commissario led his men 
in building a straight road from Chan Kom to the Castillo of Chi- 
chen Itz. Unfortunately, owing to its impracticability, most of this 
road was abandoned after a few years. In 193G the same leader se- 
cured for the town the right to become a municipio (similar to our 
county seat). In that year several members of the town embraced 
the Protestant faith, thus causing a rift in the town's harmony 
with the result that many of the inhabitants moved from the village. 

Chan Kom is a young and rather prosperous community. Often 
one can count as many as 50 cattle on the plaza, not to mention horses, 
mules, and donkeys. Fat pigs, an exception in Yucatan, are found 
on the Chan Kom plaza mingling with an unusually large supply 
of chickens, turkeys, and ducks (see pi. 26, /). 

Within the town limits there are ancient Maya ruins, and at a 
short distance can be found the larger ruins of Cosil, Tontzimin, 
and Kochila. For an excellent and detailed account of the founding 
and history of Chan Kom, the reader is referred to the book, "Chan 
Kom, A Maya Village" (Redfield and Villa, 1934). 


In 1935 the town of Chapab had a population of 1,865 persons. 
It also had an excellent schoolhouse with about 125 pupils. There 
are cenotes and caves in the vicinity as well as ancient Maya ruins, 
while approximately 15 kilometers to the northwest is a very large 
aguada, called Polol. This aguada, which might well be called a 
lake, has a circumference of about 2l^ kilometers. The Spanish 
church at Chapab was built in the early sixteenth century and was 
formerly under the jurisdiction of Mani. The patron saint of this 
town is St. Peter. 


Chichimila, an Indian town located about 5 kilometers south of 
Valladolid, has about 2,000 inhabitants, who are chiefly Maya, al- 
though the town leaders are mostly mestizos. There is a large church 

-taSGCO — 43 16 


facing a small plaza (see pi. 27, e) and on the north side of this church 
a small plaza of green grass can he seen. The church itself was built 
in 1609, and St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint. Hammock and 
zabucan (bag) making are the town's chief industries. The bush 
(trees and undergrowth) in these parts is very short, and the corn 
yield is often as small as 6 almudes per mecate, which is about 8 
bushels to the acre. There is an experimental agricultural college 
for the training of school teachers in Chichimila. 


Located north of Teabo, Chumayel is of historic interest, since the 
early colonial book called "The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel," 
translated recently by Ralph Roys of the Carnegie Institution, 
concerns the history of this town. 

Its large Spanish church, located on the town's plaza, is not ori- 
ented from east to west, as is customary for Catholic churches, but 
rather from north to south with the church facing south. Each year 
the town celebrates a festival to the Holy Cross which ends on May 3. 
The Virgin Mary is the patron saint of the village. In colonial 
times this church was under the jurisdiction of Teabo. 

The town has a large cuartel and an excellent schoolhouse. There 
is a beautiful Spanish-made well on the plaza which should be noted. 
This commimity is chiefly agricultural at present, although hat and 
hammock making are also carried on. 


Cuncunul, which is 11 kilometers from Valladolid, has a colonial 
church which is now in ruins. Although it is not certain just when 
the church was built, it was probably around 1581. In 1938, the 
town began again to complete the arches for a new roof — only a 
chapel is in use at present. John the Baptist is the patron saint 
of the village. On the large, rocky plaza in front of the church is 
the cuartel. There is also a small formal park (garden) located on 
the plaza. This town is relatively large, having about 325 men, the 
majority of whom are mestizos. 


Dzan is a mestizo town of about 450 men, whose chief occupations 
are the raising of corn and tobacco. Hats are made here, but not to 
a commercial extent. There are no cenotes within the village, but 
there are more than 25 Spanish-made wells. One of these, located on 
the plaza, shows markings in the stone from the ancient Maya well 
ropes. These were worn into the rock before the pulley was intro- 
duced. There is an ancient Maya pyramid located very near the 


present Spanish church which dates back to 1754. Some of the 
round columns from nearby Maya ruins were used in the construc- 
tion of the present cuartel (town hall). 


Dzitas, an ancient town founded by the Ah Canuls (a division of 
the Yucatan Maya before the Conquest), is a municipio and at 
present is considered a mestizo town. It is located on the railroad 140 
kilometers from Merida, and before the Merida-Chichen Itza high- 
way was built (1935) Dzitas served as railroad station for the Chi- 
chen Itza visitors. The town had, at that time, several automobiles, 
which carried tourists to the ruins 25 kilometers south. There is no 
outstanding industry in Dzitas. The town has a Presidente (mayor) , 
two school teachers, and a Registro Civil. There is a small plaza 
on which is built a concrete platform similar to the one in Merida. 
Many of the Dzitas people are milperos (corn farmers), but some 
earn their living by cutting firewood for the railroad. 

The Spanish church in Dzitas was built in 1619 and, at that time, 
belonged to the jurisdiction of Cenotillo. The patron saint is St. 


Another large mestizo town is Espita, located about halfway 
between Dzitas and Tizimin on the railroad. The estimated popu- 
lation is between 5,000 and 6,000 persons. Consequently, the town 
has 3 schools, 2 of which have about 300 children in each; the third 
one has an enrollment of 138. The patron saint of this village is St. 
Joseph. There is a large church, built in 1612, which was formerly 
under the jurisdiction of Calotmul. In 1938, this church was in 
perfect repair and very neatly decorated. Moreover, there is a 
cuartel with a public clock; the town also has a park and a market 
place. Since Espita is in the center of the lumber industry, it has 
several sawmills; a large proportion of railroad ties are obtained 
from this region. In colonial times, cotton and sugarcane were 
raised here in large amounts. Now, oranges grow in such numbers 
that they are exported from the community. An owner of one orange 
grove in Espita said that it was not necessary to treat the orange trees 
for scale insects as is commonly done in the United States. Cattle 
and horses are also exported from this area. 

Formerly, the town had two theaters — one called Progreso y Recreo 
(Progress and Recreation), which was founded on September 16, 
1870, by Col. Meliodoro Rosado Erosa, and was destroyed by a hurri- 
cane on August 25, 1938; and a second, called Libertad (Liberty), 
which was established by Lazara Peniche in 1916, and was still 
being used. 


In 1938 there were still no automobiles in Espita, but two horse- 
drawn coaches acted as taxis and were kept busy most of the day. 
On the other hand, there are four corn-grinding mills in town, two of 
which are run on gasoline power and two by power generated from 


The following account was taken from the author's log, which de- 
scribes not only these towns but also the smaller hamlets through 
which he traveled. The trip was made on horseback with Dr. Ralph 
Roys, and, from the time recorded at each landmark, the reader can 
estimate rouglily the distance covered between the various points. 
(See map, pi. 25.) 

March 15, 1937. — Left Chichen Itza (see pi. 26, e) at 8 a. m. and arrived 
at Chan Kom at 11 : 05 a. ra. Leaving Chan Kom at 12 : 30 p. ni., we arrived 
at the Cosil Cenote in about 20 minutes. Twelve years ago there were six families 
living at this place, but today there are none. 

Arrived Toutzimin at 1 : 30 p. ni. Visited the bottom of a dry cenote in which 
cocoa was formerly grown. 

Arrived at Xanla at 3 i). m. Here we found a beautiful dry cencite. The bush 
houses are rectangular in this pueblo. There are a well, a cuartel, a church, and 
a schoolhouse with no side walls on the plaza. 

Left Xanla at 3:20 p. m. : reached Xmax, which is due south of Xanla, at 
4 : 15 p. ni. At Xmax thei'e were only three or four houses. Men wore only 
trunks, and the families that we saw were resting and looked very contented. 

At 5 : 10 p. m. we arrived at Pocbilchen.* Here we saw eight houses. Women 
at the well were drawing their evening supply of Vv'ater. The village of Chan 
Chichimila, which was our destination, was still 7 kilometers away. 

The next village, or raucheria, was Hobonha. A few houses, a ruin, a cenote, 
and a large Yax che tree were all we could find. It was nearly dark when we 
left there at 6 : 10 p. m. Soon it became quite dark and we slowly wound our 
way over the bush-trail with a flashlight, dodging branches and hoping that 
the horses would not stumble. 

Arrived at Chan Chichimila at 7 : 45 p. ni. Sought out the school teacher and 
tried to get comfortable in the open-air schoolhouse. Built a fire on the school- 
house floor, ate supper, swung our hammocks, and went to bed. Had covei'ed 10 
leagues (35 kilometers) from Chichen Itza. Chan Chichimila is a small town 
of perhaps 100 inhabitants, all of whom are milperos. 

March 16, 1937. — Left Chan Chichimila at 8 : 80 a. m. and went due south 
for 7 kilometers to Chikindzonot. Passed through high forests of quite a different 
type from those in the Chichen Itza area. Both Chan Chichimila and 
Chikindzonot are relatively pure Indian towns. Chikindzonot is a much larger 
town, with perhaps 3,000 inhabitants. Only now is the town being repopulated, 
having been deserted during the War of the Castes in 1847. The church and 
convent we found to be large and interesting (see pi. 27, a). The schoolhouse is 
two-storied. The cenote at Chikindzonot is large and has four openings. 

'These and other small hamlets are not shown on the map, plate 25. 


At noon we left and traveled to Ekpedz, 6^2 kilometers to the east. This 
town of 40 families, chiefly Indian, has an interesting church and 2 cenotes. 
It was made famous during the War of the Castes, for both rebel and govern- 
ment troops used Ekpedz as a base when attacking the village Tihosueo. 
Furthermore, it was in this region that the rebellion began. 

At 3 : 30 p. m., we went on, in a northeasterly direction, to San Jos5, where 
we spent the night. We traveled 21 kilometers today. Again the schoolmaster 
allowed us to use his building for sleeping quarters. All the townfolk were 
in fine spirits. One hundred and two people, representing 18 families, live in 
this village. A Flor de Mayo tree was in bloom. There is only 1 store. 

March 17, 1937. — Left at 7 a. m., having experienced a fine attitude among 
the townfolk. The road between San Jos6 and Tixcacalcupul is very long, tire- 
some, and actually of little interest. 

At 8 : 07 a. m. there was a road on the right which seemed to lead to Itz Mool, 
which was said to be 2 kilometers distant. There were several trails turning off 
from the main road, but they led to milpas and not to inhabited places. 

At 10 : 30 a. m. we arrived at the Kancab Cenote. and 1 kilometer farther 
we came to Dzui, where there is another cenote. Near there we saw a stone 
cross at which Indians still worship, and to which a well-trodden path leads 
(see pi. 26, &). Saw a moan bird (Micrastur semitorqtiattis naso) at the cenote. 
After an hour or more we came to a very large ancient Maya city in ruins, 
composed of at least six huge mounds. The name of this ruin was not 

At 2 : 15 p. m. we passed the ruins of a Spanish hacienda. On the way we 
saw a sight which is typical of the migrating Maya — a Maya woman carrying 
a chicken on her arm and a baby on her back. Then came a dog, followed 
by a man driving a pig; on the man's back was his pack, on top of which 
sat a girl of about 4 years of age. The man also carried a lantern. 

At 3:10 p. m. we crossed the Sac Be (ancient Maya road). The road was 
very well preserved at this juncture. 

At 3 : 25 p. m. we passed a large cenote on the left of the road, just outside 
of Tixcacalcupul. 

Reached Tixcacalcupul by 3:50 p. m. — 7 or 8 leagues from San Jos§ (see 
pi. 26, d). The town plaza of Tixcacalcupul is very much like that of Chichimila 
in that there is a small plaza in front of the church and another alongside 
of it. The Spanish church is large, and people had recently worshipped there 
for candles were still burning. (Note. — This was the period during which the 
Mexican churches were closed.) As I tried to open the huge wooden door, 
several pigs scampered out of the side door. The Apostle St. James is the 
patron saint of the village : and in colonial times this town was a parish by 
itself, though it is under the jurisdiction of Valladolid today. Took photo- 
graphs of the church, inside of which was an image of a black Christ. It was 
originally white but had been painted recently. The baptismal fountain was 
large but not as beautifully carved as the one in Chiliindzonot. There are 
150 workingmen in Tixcacalcupul — chiefly Indian. 

Left at 4:45 p. m. for Ekal, a small town to the west and slightly south. 
Road flne for most of the distance. Passed through Xyat at 5:30 p. m. and 
arrived at Ekal at 6:00 p. m. This is a rancheria (small ranch) with three 
houses. That night I attended a Maya prayer meeting where Catholicism was 
obviously mixed with paganism. Catholic chants and prayers were being 
offered in singing fashion before six bowls of pozole (corn gruel) placed on an 
altar. One bowl for the departed souls himg in the doorway. After the 
prayers were over, there was the repetition of numerous buenas nocbes (good- 


Dights), and then the pozole was drunk. Unfortunately, there were many 
fleas in our house, and pigs came in during the night and ransacked our 

March 18, 1937. — Gave the children candy, balloons, and other presents. Paid 
a peso (about 30 cents) for six eggs, a peso for feed for four horses, another 
peso for our tortillas, and 3 pesos for the house. Everyone was happy. Left 
at 7 : 35 a. m. While traveling in the State of Yucatan, it is possible to pur- 
chase food from the natives. This food consists chiefly of chicken eggs, beans, 
tortillas, and chocolate. 

At 8 : 00 a. m., having traveled 2 kilometers, we struck a crossroad which 
led from Tekom, southwest to Chan Chichimila. There was another road 
going due south to Xnuc Kaucab, which was only 6 mecates (120 meters) away. 

At 8 : 10 a. m. we left the road for a trail to the west and at 8 : 45 a. m. we 
were 2 kilometers due south of the village of Sacal. Everything went well 
until 9 or 9 : 10 a. m., when our guide lost his orientation and our troubles 
began. Upon several occasions our horses rubbed trees which held wasp 
nests. Near confusion was caused by the fact that the horses reared in their 
hurry to escape the wasps. Everyone in the party had numerous wasp stings, 
with Martiniano, our interpreter, counting as many as 16 on his body. The 
bush trail was very narrow. Finally, we crossed the Sac Be again and our 
guide took us over it for half a league, cutting a trail as we went. Needless 
to say, this was hard work for him and for us, too, since we had to walk 
over a very rough road. We finally arrived at Sacal, which was only about 
iy2 leagues from Ekal. 

Left Sacal at 10 : 45 a. m. and passed through Chebalam at 11 : 45 a. m. Trav- 
eling at a steady pace, we reached Tzeal by 12 : 25 noon. From there, Pamba 
was 1 kilometer, Xyat was 1 kilometer, Bohom was 3.5 kilometers, and Chan 
Kom was 7 kilometers distant. Saw the Maya ruins at Tzeal and proceeded on 
our way at 2 : 10 p. m. 

At 3 : 14 p. m. we passed a road on our left which led to Dzonotaban. Three 
mecates (60 meters) further on the Chan Kom road, we came to two crossroads 
at the edge of the town of Bohom. We left Bohom at 3 : 50 p. m. and arrived 
at Chan Kom at 4 : 55 p. m., resting there until 5 : 20 p. m., when we started off 
for Chichen, which we reached at 8 : 15 p. m. 

This diary was inserted to give the reader an idea of travel along 
the Yucatan trails. The towns which were previously described, as 
well as those which follow, were reached by train, automobile, cart, 
horseback, or on foot (see pi. 28, d and e). 


In 1938 this little town, located at kilometer 82 on the Merida- 
Chichen Itza highway, was fast increasing in population. The village 
is chiefly Maya, and all of the 200 adult male inhabitants are milperos. 
The cenote on the plaza is called Holca, and another, located within 
the boundaries of the town, is called Chinan. The town has no Spanish 
church ; therefore, it may have been first settled after the Independence 
of Mexico in 1810. School is held in the town's only public building, 
and here about 100 school children are taught by 2 teachers. The 
original population came chiefly from the towns of Tibolon, Cacalchen, 
andHoctun. ~:: ;; :: - ; 


Twelve years ago, a large migration, starting from Yaxcaba and 
Libre Union, settled in Holca. An interesting point is to be noticed in 
the recent dating of a billiard hall in Holca ; the date inscribed by the 
builder is 9-15-937 (representing September 15, 1937) , thus leaving off 
the number 1 signifying thousand. This type of abbreviation, made 
by the modern builder, may also have occurred in ancient times, 
rendering the reading of some of the dated glyphs difficult. 

The town has two mills for grinding corn, but the owners agreed to 
operate on alternate weeks, thus solving the problem of competition. 


Izamal is one of Yucatan's large cities, having a population of 5,550 
inhabitants. The town was built on the ruins of an ancient Maya site 
called after "Zamna" or "Izamna," one of the Itza rulers who founded 
many towns in Yucatan. 

The Spanish church and convent in Izamal were built, in 1549, on 
a raised platform, constructed originally by the ancient Maya. This 
is true also for the present public market place. St. Anthony of Padua 
is the patron saint of Izamal. Several mounds and pyramids within 
the limits of the present town speak for the size of the ancient Maya 
city. Izamal is also noted for being the home of the famous historian, 
Diego de Landa, the first bishop of Yucatan. 

In modern times, an American doctor, George F. Gaumer, settled in 
Izamal and founded a laboratory from which he dispensed many medi- 
cines made from local plants. His son. Dr. George J. Gaumer, carried 
on the medical practice after the death of his father. 


This town of 1,800 persons is famous chiefly because it was the 
are mestizo. The town has a square plaza, a cuartel, and a schoolhouse 
which takes care of 172 children. It is an old town, having about 100 
Spanish wells, the water levels of which are at 25 meters. We visited 
the town on February 26, 1935, and on that date some milperos were 
already burning their milpas. There are several persons who are 
"deaf and dumb" in this town and one woman has four such deaf 
children. The chief occupation of the people is farming, although 
some hammocks and some pottery are made here. The church was 
built in 1612, and the patron saint is the Virgin Mary. 


This town of 1,800 persons is famous chiefly because it was the 
home of the old Maya chief, Tutulxiu. Here it was that the first 
Franciscan missionaries established their monastery. The church 
was built in 1549, and the Archangel St. Michael is the patron saint. 
At one time during that first century after the Conquest, 4 of the 


Catholic priests were to be burned by the Indians, but a Maya boy, 
who had been taught by the priests, warned them to escape for their 
lives, which the priests refused to do. They sought aid, however, 
from Montejo's troops, who arrived just in time to release the priests 
and capture the leading Indians, who were in turn taken to Merida 
("T-ho") and sentenced to death. The 4 priests, however, pleaded 
for the lives of the Indians, and their request was granted. Because 
of this, the church won many converts. On the plaza of Mani, 
Bishop Landa ordered the burning of all available Maya books and 
idols — a tremendous loss to our knowledge of the ancient Maya civili- 

There is a beautiful cenote in the town called Cabal Chen. The 
church is large and in perfect condition. The town appears to be 
chiefly mestizo in population, the principal occupation being farm- 
ing. As is true for other towns in the region, the natives estimate 
the corn yield as 1 carga per mecate (approximately 20 bushels per 
acre; 1 carga equals 94.8 pounds) for the first-year milpa, and 9 
almudes (% carga) for a second-year milpa. 


Merida, a city of 95,000 inhabitants, is located 36 kilometers south 
of Progreso, which is the port of entry for Yucatan. Merida was 
founded in 1542, by Francisco de Montego, Jr., on an ancient Maya 
site called "Ich-can-zi-ho," which is often abbreviated merely to 
"T-ho." Most of the stones remaining from this ancient city have 
been used to build the present city of Merida ; however, one can still 
see some of the remains of a Maya pyramid behind the modem mar- 
ket place. One of the outstanding characteristics of Merida is its 
cleanliness. The streets are kept unusually clean for a large city, 
and the people are well-kept and tidy. The main plaza, surrounded 
by a magnificent cathedral and other public buildings, is always 
thronged with both Indians and mestizos. The city's limited central 
water system is not widely used, and the town resorts to the use of 
American-made windmills, of which there are more than 7,000, all 
privately owned. 

Merida has one large, central market place and several smaller 
ones. The city is modern in that it has two good hotels, daily air- 
plane service to Mexico City and weekly service to the United States, 
two daily new^spapers, a historical museum, a public library, and an 
air-conditioned theater. Good roads lead from Merida to Progreso, 
to Uxmal, the beautiful Maya city about 70 kilometers south of 
Merida, and also to Chichen Itza, some 125 kilometers to the south- 
east. Merida is in the center of the henequen industry, and within 
its limits are several factories and storehouses which deal in 
Yucatan's chief export. 



Also built on Maya ruins, called Mutul, Motul is located on the 
railroad 46 kilometers from Merida. Motul was the home of Felipe 
CarrilJo Puerto, a former governor of Yucatan. While governor. 
Felipe Carrillo developed one of the town's beautiful cenotes into 
a bathing park, which was equipped with electric lights and a con- 
crete causeway to the water. After his death, a monument was 
erected to his memory, but the park soon fell into decay through 
lack of appreciation. The Motul church was built in 1567, and the 
patron saint of the church and town is St. John the Baptist. 


This town, located on the railroad to Peto, is 80 kilometers from 
Merida and has a population of 3,500, most of whom are mestizos. 
In this region there is deeper soil than in the rest of Yucatan, owing 
to the erosion from the range of hills just south of the town. Be- 
cause of this deep soil, many vegetables, as well as tobacco, cotton, 
melons, squash, and chile are grown. It is said that, in these fertile 
fields, corn can be grown for as many as 10 successive seasons. This 
is indeed remarkable when it is remembered that in the rest of 
Yucatan, corn is generally grown in the same field for only 2 
seasons. Estimates were given showing a yield of 3 cargas per 
mecate for the first-year bush and 21/0 cargas per mecate for second- 
year bush. Delicious citrus fruit is also grown in the yards of the 

The derivation of the town's name, Oxkutzcab, may refer to some 
of the agricultural products raised in this area, thus : "Ox" — ramon, 
the leaves of which are fed to horses and cattle; "Imtz" — tobacco; 
and "cab" — honey. These three agricultural products are cultivated 
on a large scale in the present vicinity of Oxkutzcab, The town 
contains a beautiful old Spanish church built in 1581, and St. Francis 
of Assisi is the patron saint. 


Pencuyut was thought by the author to be the town most pre- 
dominantly Indian in population in the thickly settled area of south- 
central Yucatan. Although it is true that there are many mestizos 
in the town, and that names like Castillo and Carrillo abound, there 
are, nevertheless, many Indians in residence. About 1 kilometer 
from the plaza an interesting marker was found, indicating a point 
of boundary, dated February 28, 1557, thus verifying the printed 
record that Pencuyut was a town even at that early date (see pi. 
28, /) . The name of the cenote in the town plaza is Chi-chi, and it is 
estimated that the water level at Pencuyut is 18 meters from the 


In a census taken by the author in 1936, there were 246 men, 223 
women, and 94 children living in this town. The men are chiefly 
agriculturists, raising corn, beans, and squash. Pencuyut is located 
8 kilometers from the railroad to which all products are taken by 
pack mule, since the road is so rocky that carts cannot pass over it. 

The Spanish church here was never finished, though recently it 
was roofed with tin. A convent, which had six rooms, lies in ruins. 
The patron saint here is St. Barnaby, and the church falls under the 
jurisdiction of Tekaz. 


The town site of Progreso is old, and only in the last 50 years has 
it taken on the appearance of a modern city. In 1892 the present 
lighthouse was built, and Progreso became the chief port of entry 
for the State, an honor which was held formerly by the small port 
of Sisal. Progreso now contains the State customhouse and all 
Government offices connected with exports and immigration. Since 
1900 the town has grown rapidly and is now the second largest town 
in the State, having a population of 11,400 inhabitants. It is built 
chiefly along the sand dunes of the beautiful north coast. As a study 
in contrasts, it should be noted that only a short distance inland are 
the low areas with malaria-infested swamps. Progreso is known 
by many as Progreso de Castro, because of the efforts of one Juan 
Miguel Castro, the founder of Progreso, to make Progreso a town 
such as it is. The church of Progreso was built in 1872, and St. 
Joseph and the Virgin Mary are the patron saints. 


This is a large mestizo town of perhaps 3,000 individuals, 600 of 
whom are estimated to be milperos, with about 100 businessmen 
in the town. There is a large Spanish church which was built in 
1609, and the patron saint is the Apostle Peter. In addition to the 
church, there is a convent which is now in ruins. The plaza is level 
and green, and on one side is a large, well-kept town hall. In 
the vicinity there are several henequen haciendas and cattle farms, 
but many of the men and women weave hats, and some hammock 
making is done to add to their living. 


Tekit is a mestizo town with an estimated population of 800 men — 
perhaps 4,000 people. It is located far from the nearest railroad, 
and the roads in this region are entirely unimproved, making cart 
passage exceedingly slow and rough. There is a large church with 
the customary cypress trees in front of it, and the patron saint of 
the town is St. Anthony of Padua. Formerly, the church was under 
the jurisdiction of Mama; now both Telrit and Mama are under the 


jurisdiction of xA^canceh. Tekit has a park with modern seats and 
benches. There is a town hall, which contains the village clock. 

In the village there are no cenotes; the nearest one, about 1 kil- 
ometer distant from the plaza, is called Chac Tela. The community 
is chiefly agricultural, although numerous cattle are raised. In early 
colonial times, this area was almost entirely cattle country. 


In ancient times this city was called merely "Cul" which, trans- 
lated from the Maya, means "settled" or "stationed." It is located 
at the base of the Puc, on which hills are the ruins of the ancient 
cities of Kaba, Labna, Sayil, and Uxmal. Since Ticul is located in 
a fertile region, this may have been an agricultural city associated 
with the large ancient towns which are now in ruins. 

The present city of Ticul is the third largest city in Yucatan, 
having a population of 7,520 inhabitants. It is located on the rail- 
road connecting Merida with Peto. The chief industry of Ticul is 
pottery making, although basket and hat making also supply labor 
for many of the inhabitants. Near Ticul are many tobacco fields, 
so that many cigarettes and cigars are produced in this vicinity. 
Shoes are also manufactured here. Ticul has a park called Octavio 
Rosado, and although the town has no cenotes, it is located not far 
from a beautiful cave called "Yotholim." There is a large Spanish 
church located in Ticul which was constructed in 1591. A Catholic 
convent belonging to the church can be seen also. The patron saint 
is St. Anthony of Padua, as is true also for Tekit. 


The town of Tinum is located on the Valladolid branch of the rail- 
road, 165 kilometers from Merida, and only 16 kilometers from 
Valladolid. Formerly Tinum belonged to the political jurisdiction 
of Valladolid, but now it has become an independent municipality. 

The colonial church and convent of Tinum are in ruins. Church 
services, however, are held for the present-day parishioners in one 
section of the convent. St. Anthony is the patron saint. There is 
a large cuartel, or town hall, part of which is used as a school, 
which in 1931 had 3 teachers. Tinum is located in an agricultural 
community, and many cattle are raised in this section. Some people 
derive their income from cutting firewood for the trains and ties for 
the tracks, but there is also a considerable amount of huano palm 
cultivation — the palm being used chiefly in basket and hat making. 
The town boasts 350 men. From the author's 1931 diary, the 
following is quoted : 

In Tinum we stas'ed in the town's guest house, which was an ordinary 
Indian house so far as size and shape are concerned, except that it had a con- 


Crete floor and plastered walls. The rounded walls had panels on which were 
painted various scenes. One was that of a legendary "Uay-pop" (see pi. 28, c), 
who as a peddler lives only for 7 years. He steals all the strange things he 
sells, by going at midnight into houses in foreign countries, where he makes 
himself as small as an ant so that he may enter. He takes what he desires, 
sometimes even babies, and returns by 2 o'clock. He flies by means of wings. 

The walls (3 feet thick) of the old and beautiful abandoned Span- 
ish monastery were crumbling. In them were small depressions, 
where we saw the remains of human skeletons. There were several 
beautifully carved stone bowls which had been used for Holy Water. 
Part of the church is still used, but priests come very seldom to this 
small town. There were many other Spanish ruins in the town, and 
in another ruined church there were many human skeletons. 


The word Tixliualahtun means "there stones stood up"; the word 
"ualah" is the past tense of the verb "to stand." This place may 
have been one where natives placed stones on top of one another to 
commemorate a passing event. It must be added, however, that no 
one in the present town is aware of the existence of any such pile of 

Tixhualahtun is a town of approximately 100 men, with a school 
of about 30 pupils, who are taught by 1 teacher ; in 1938, the teacher was 
Jose Dolores Duarte. The town is located about 5 kilometers south- 
east of Valladolid. Since the unimproved road is exceedingly 
rough and rocky, it seems incredible that any automobile could pass 
over it. 

Twelve leagues to the east are the ruins of the Maya city of Coba, 
but there are no ruins in Tixhualahtun itself. Not even miscel- 
laneous Maya cut stones are to be found in the church walls. The 
Spanish church is in ruins, with only the sacristy being used today 
for worship. Two church bells are to be found near the church — one 
is dated 1678 and was dedicated to the church in 1720. In the room 
now used for worship is a black Christ. The saint's day for Tix- 
hualahtun is El Santo Cristo de la Exaltacion, and the feast day is 
September 14. 

The plaza is triangular in shape, the base lying toward the south 
where the church is situated. The two other sides of the isosceles 
triangle merge into a point on the north, forming the road to 


The Maya formerly called this place "Tzimin," which referred to 
a large quadruiDed, perhaps an antelope; but with the coming of the 
Spaniards, the word was pronounced "Tizimin." 


This town, located at the end of a branch line of the railroad which 
runs from Dzitas, is important as a lumbering center for Yucatan, 
and several sawmills are located here. Lumber and heavy timbers 
of mahogany and cedar are exported to various parts of Yucatan and 
Mexico. The soil in this region is excellent and the milperos are 
said to gather from 2 to 3 cargas of maize from each mecate, though, 
because of the richness of the soil, they are obliged to weed these 
fields two or three times a season. The Tizimin region is also noted 
for its production of beans; it produces more beans than any other 
region in Yucatan. Yucca, from which starch and tapioca are ob- 
tained, is also grown abundantly in this area, as well as plantains, 
bananas, and oranges. 

Snakes abound, and it is told that, upon one occasion, collectors 
gathered as many as 80 rattlesnakes from a 4-mecate field. In the 
bush, there are tigers, monkeys, and parrots. When the author 
visited the town in 1933, one family kept a large Yucatan tiger in a 
cage behind the house. 

The town boasts some o,C00 inhabitants and is the nmnicipal center 
for 21 localities. There are cenotes in the region but the water is 
rather stagnant, so the villagers secure their water supply from 
wells which average about 12 feet in depth. 

Perhaps the outstanding feature of the town is its religious 
significance, for the church and old convent located here were built 
in 1563 and contain images of its three patron saints, the three 
oriental kings, Melchor, Gaspar, and Baltazar. The people of Yuca- 
tan hold these saints in great reverence and pilgrimages are made 
to Tizimin each year, especially on the feast days, December 30 to 
January 9, At this time, the church is crowded with these pilgrims 
who bring gifts of flowers, candles, and amulets, which are always 
offered in triplicate, one for each saint. The people believe that 
these saints can perform great miracles, and, during the religious 
celebrations, the church hums with prayers and chants offered by the 
hundreds of pilgrims. The fact that Tizimin is located in eastern 
Yucatan may have some significance in the choice of the three kings 
from the East as patron saints. 


The town of Uayma is under the jurisdiction of Valladolid. Its 
large church, built in 1581, lay in ruins in 1932, the roof having 
caved in and the heavy side walls having cracked the front wall of 
the church (see pi. 27, /'). Trees and wild vegetation are overgrowing 
the church property, and there are also the remains of a Spanish 
convent. This church (region) is at present under the jurisdiction 
of the Sisal church of Valladolid. The patron saint of Uayma 


is Santo Domingo. Near the church is a cave from which the clay 
for the famous Uayma pottery is obtained. 

Tiie town is located on the railroad, 8 kilometers from Valladolid, 
and many inhabitants of the town earn their living by selling fire- 
wood to the railroad for the wood-burning engines. The pottery, in 
which gray and red clay are used in equal proportions, is distinctive 
and can readily be distinguished from that of other Yucatan towns. 
The potters from Uayma use a wheel which is 6 inches in diameter 
and is propelled by foot and toe action. Uayma may be classified as 
an Indian town. It has a population of 300 men. 


In Yucatan, Valladolid is referred to as the "Sultaness of the 
East" by the mestizos, and by the Indians as ''Saci," which was 
the name of an ancient Maya city located where Valladolid now 
stands. The present city was founded soon after the conquest by 
Francisco de Montego, the nephew of the Conqueror of Yucatan. 

The population of Valladolid is now about 5,600, mostly mestizos. 
Primarily an agricultural community, its chief crop is corn, since 
only a small amount of lienequen is raised. From this town each 
year a number of expeditions leave for various chicle camps in 
Quintana Eoo. Valladolid was one of the colonial towns taken by 
the rebellious Indians in 1847, and much of the town was destroyed 
at that time. Valladolid has 6 large colonial churches. The largest, 
located on the plaza, is consecrated to the Holy Kedeemer. The sec- 
ond is Candelaria, in or near which a commercial fiesta is celebrated 
each year. A third church, called Sisal, was built in 1553, and it has 
a large convent, 2 stories high, which contains numerous rooms, many 
of which are in good condition even today. Under the church floor, 
there is an opening into the Sisal cenote. The church of Santana 
also has a cenote nearby, which is used today as a swimming pool, 
with an admission charge of 5 centavos collected from each swimmer. 
The cenote is called Ximha. On one of the side walls there is yellow 
clay, which boj^s rub on their bodies in place of soap. The 2 other 
churches are San Juan and Santa Lucia. 


This agricultural town is located 9 kilometers from Dzitas on the 
road to Chichen Itza. It had a population of 378 persons in 1935, 
most of whom were Indian. 

The Spanish church located in the center of the town is dated 1815. 
The side walls and front were completed, but the concrete roof 
was never finished and only a thatch roof covered the structure. The 
poles supporting this roof are still standing inside the present church 


walls. The building fell into decay and was reconditioned in 1916, 
at which time the present schoolhouse was built. The church was in 
use until about 1923, when it was abandoned. In 1937 the Protestant 
element in the town built as a church for themselves a neat stone struc- 
ture, whereas the Catholics, who are their bitter religious and political 
enemies, do not have a place of worship. The town has a school of 
about 30 children and 1 schoolmaster. There is a cuartel made of 
stone and a large level plaza, which is covered with green grass. The 
present plaza of Xocenpich, however, is not the original one, which 
was located east of the present cuartel. The Spanish church is located 
in the center of the old plaza. 

The town has 2 stores, one owned by Gonzalo Chan and the other 
by Cesareo Chi. There are no cenotes within the limits, but 14 
Spanish wells supply the town with water. The cenote of Anik is 
iy2 kilometers to the northwest; another, Chich, is about the same 
distance to the southwest; and still another, called Tzoc, is li/o kilo- 
meters to the southeast. The town has no particular industry, since 
most of its inhabitants are milperos. 

During the revolution of 1919-24, the town provided a haven for 
the political refugees from Piste. Throughout the eight seasons 
(1931-38) that the author has carried on his anthropological work in 
Xocenpich, it has been a seat of political unrest; the two political 
factions in the town feel extremely bitter toward each other. 


From the descriptions of these 30 towns the reader will learn that 
they resemble each other in pattern yet differ in many respects. Thus, 
the region of Tizimin supports a heavy growth of trees, and lumber is 
the most important product. In this region of high trees, jaguars, 
snakes, and birds are the dominant fauna. When the bush is cleared 
beans are commonly grown in this area, in contrast to the more arid 
parts of northwestern Yucatan where henequcn dominates. In regions 
where clay is to be found, such as in Uayma and Ticul, the industry 
of pottery making is the chief means of support. The towns along the 
railroads are supported largely by industries connected with the 
railroad, ^uch as cutting wood for the wood-burning trains and wood 
ties for the tracks. ISIany of the towns described are built on the 
ruins of ancient Maya cities, as, for example, Merida, Vallodolid, 
Motul, and Izamal. Mention is made of the historic towns of Mani 
and Chumayel, famous for their associations during the Spanish 
colonial times. Some of the less important Indian towns are described 
so that the reader may become acquainted with the mode of life in the 
agricultural communities. 


liANDA, Diego de 

1937. Yiicatau before and after the conquest. With other related documents, 
maps, and illustrations. Translated with notes by William Gates. 
Maya Soc, Baltimore. 
Maetinez, Victor M. 

1937. Geografia Moderne de Yucatan. Merida. 
Redfieli), Robeet, and Viixa R., Alfonso. 

1934. Chan Kom, a Maya village. Carnegie Inst. Washington Publ. 448. 
Roys, Ralph L. 

1933. The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel. Carnegie Inst. Washington 

Publ. 438. 
1939. The Titles of Ehtun. Carnegie Inst. Washington Publ. 505. 


1941. Maya Indians of Yucatan. Carnegie Inst. Washington Publ. 531. 



Typical Scenes in Yucatan, 

a, A typical cenote, at Piixil, near Piste. 6, Cross on a road, marking the boundary of a small town 
c, A yard scene in Piste, d, Plaza at San Jose; note the women at the well and the open-sided 
schoolhouse in the rear, e, A general view at Chichen Itza. f, A typical Maya doorstep in Chan 






f\ ^ 


a, A thatch structure built within the ruins of the church at Chikindzonot. 6, Interior of Piste churcli. 
c, Typical Spanish church at Piste, d. Church at Tekax. e, Chichimila /, Church at Uayma. 




Interior scene in a typical bush house, b. Exterior of a newly constructed hush house in I'iste. c, 
Uay-pop, a mythical creature drawn on a wall panel in a Maya hush house, d, A si.x-mule cart; 
these are used chiefly in transporting maize. However, passengers are also transported on them. 
e, Volan, a carriage swung by leather straps for the comfort of the passengers who travel over the 
rocky roads, f, A boundary marker at Pencuyut, dated 1587. 


Bureau of American Ethnology 

Bulletin 136 

Anthropological Papers, No. 31 
Some Western Shoshoni Myths 



435660—43 17 



Introduction 253 

The theft of fire (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 254 

(Panamint Valley Shoshoni) 255 

The theft of pine nuts (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 256 

(Smith Valley Shoshoni) 257 

(Elko Shoshoni) 258 

(Winnemucca Northern Paiute) 260 

The origin of people (Panamint Valley Shoshoni) 261 

(Death Valley Shoshoni) 262 

(Beatty Shoshoni) 263 

(Ash Meadows Shoshoni) 265 

(Big Smoky Valley Shoshoni) 266 

(Skull Valley Gosiute, i. e., Shoshoni) 267 

[Saline Valley Shoshoni version included in "Coyote learns to fly".] 

The race to Koso Hot Springs (Death Valley Shoshoni) 268 

(Saline Valley Shoshoni) 269 

Coyote learns to fly; The origin of people (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 270 

Coyote learns to fly; Coyote becomes a mother (Ash Meadows Shoshoni). 272 

Coyote learns to fly (Lida Shoshoni) 274 

(Big Smoky Valley Shoshoni) 277 

Cottontail shoots the Sun (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 277 

(Elko Shoshoni) 278 

The length of winter; Coyote is bitten (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 281 

Hawk and the Gambler (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 282 

The Flood (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 284 

Rat and Mountain Sheep (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 284 

Cottontail and Wind (Saline Valley Shoshoni) 285 

The deer stealer (Death Valley Shoshoni) 285 

The Sky Brothers (Death Valley Shoshoni) 287 

Origin of death (Big Smoky Valley Shoshoni) 290 

Coyote kills Wolf's wives (Big Smoky Valley Shoshoni) 291 

Badger, Coyote, and the Woodchucks (Lida Shoshoni) 291 

Coyote and the Bear Cubs; the Death of Wolf (Ash Meadows Shoshoni).. 294 

Pole Cat, Takadoa, and Hawk (Elko Shoshoni) 296 

Coyote liberates game animals; Wolf is killed and restored (Winnemucca 

Northern Paiute) 297 

The ice barrier (Winnemucca Northern Paiute) 299 



By Julian H. Steward 


These myths were procured from several Shoshoni of Nevada and 
eastern California and from one Northern Paiute during 6 months' 
ethnographic field work ^ in 1935. They by no means exhaust the 
western Shoshoni mythological repertory, but, as this enormous area 
has heretofore been a blank on the ethnographic map, any materia' 
from it should be recorded. 

The myths were recorded from the following localities and in- 
formants: Saline Valley, between Death Valley and Owens Valley, 
Calif.; Patsie Wilson, Shoshoni (now at Lone Pine), age about 50, 
informant; Andrew Glenn, interpreter. Panamint Valley, Calif.; 
George Hansen, age about 90. Upper Death Valley, Calif. ; Bill Doc, 
Shoshoni (now at Beatty, Nev.), age about 70. Beatty, Nev. ; Tom 
Stewart, Shoshoni, age about 70. Ash Meadows, Nev., where Shoshoni 
and Southern Paiute were somewhat mixed, but myths claimed to be 
Shoshoni ; Mary Scott, age about 80. Lida, Nev. ; John Shakespeare 
(now living at Cow Camp, near Silver Peak, Nev.), Shoshoni, age 
about 80. Big Smoky Valley, Nev.; Jenny Kawich (now living at 
Shurz, Nev.), Shoshoni, age about 65; these myths poorly remembered 
and very synoptic. Smith Valley, Nev., Tom Horn, Shoshoni, age 
about 60. Elko, Nev. ; Bill Gibson, Shoshoni, age about 60. Winne- 
mucca, Nev.; Charlie Thacker, Northern Paiute (now living at 
Owyhee, Nev.) , age about 70. One myth is from the Gosiute (who are 
really Shoshoni), procured in 1936 while doing field work for the 
Bureau of American Ethnology; informant, Miidiwak, age about 60. 

There are few tales in this collection that are actually new. The 
themes, episodes, characters, and style are very similar to myths from 
Owens Valley and western Nevada Paiute, from Owens Valley Sho- 
shoni, from Ute and Southern Paiute, and from the Northern Lemhi 
Shoshoni.^ Novelty lies only in local combinations of widespread 

' This work was financed by the Department of Anthropology, University of California, 
and a grant-in-aid from the Social Science Research Council. 

" Steward, J. H., Myths of the Owens Valley Paiute, Univ. Calif. Publ. Amer. Archacol. 
and Ethnol., vol. 34, No. 5, pp. 355-440, 1936. A few Shoshoni myths arc recorded in the 
same, pp. 434-436. See also. Ethnography of the Owens Valley Paiute, same series, vol. 33, 
pp. 323-324, 1933 ; also, Lewie, R. H., Shoshonean Tales, Journ. Amer. Folk-Lore, vol. 37, 
pp. 1-242, 1924, and The Northern Shoshone, Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., Anthrop. Pap., vol. 2, 
No. 2, pp. 233-302, 1909 ; also, Sapir, Edward, Texts of the Kaibab Paiutes and Uintah 
Utea, Amer. Acad. Arts and Sci., Proc, vol. 65, No. 2, pp. 297-535, 1930. 



elements and in local embellishment. Therefore, as the most interest- 
ing feature of Shoshonean mythology is local variation, an effort was 
made to obtain different versions of the same tale. From this stand- 
point, I was most successful in the Origin of People, procuring seven 
variants from as many localities. The Theft of Fire, the Theft of Pine 
Nufs, Coyote Learns to Fly, and Cottontail Shoots the Sun are also 
popular, wide-spread themes. The Race to Koso Hot Springs is an 
Owens Valley Paiute favorite. Other myths were collected at random. 
Personal songs, sung by prominent myth characters, as in Owens 
Valley tales, seem to have been a general, though not important, feature 
of Shoshoni myths, but no effort was made to collect them. 


(Saline "Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

A long time ago, the animals were people. They had no fire in 
any part of this country. 

Lizard was lying in the sunshine. He saw a tule ash, blown by the 
south wind from a long way off, fall to the ground near him. All the 
people came over to look at it and wondered from where it had come. 

They sent Hummingbird up into the sky to find out. They watched 
Hummingbird fly up. Coyote said, "I can see him. He is high in the 
sky." Lizard said, "I can see him sitting up there." They saw that 
Hummingbird looked all over to see from where the ash had blown. 
Coyote was watching him. He saw that Hummingbird looked to the 
south and saw something. Hummingbird came down and told the 
people that there was a fire in the south. 

They all started toward the south. On the way, Coyote stationed 
the different animals at intervals. They Avent on until they could see 
the fire. The people there were having a big celebration and dance. 
Coyote made himself false hair of milkweed string. He joined the 
people and danced with them. As he danced he moved close to the 
fire and leaned his head over so that his hair caught on fire. As soon 
as it was lighted, he ran away. The fire in the camp went out, and the 
people began to pursue Coyote to recover their fire. 

Coyote ran to the first man he had posted and passed the fire to him. 
This man ran with it to the next man, and in this way they passed it 
along. Every time the pursuers caught one of Coyote's people they 
killed him. There were fewer and fewer of them left, but they kept 
the fire. 

At last only Rabbit remained. As he ran with the fire, he caused 
hail to fall to stop the pursuers. Rabbit cried as he ran. Rat, who 
was living alone on the top of a big smooth rock, heard Rabbit crying 
and went down to meet him. As he ran toward Rabbit, he tore the 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWAED 255 

notch in the mountains near Lida. Rat took the fire from Rabbit and 
ran with it to his house, which was on the summit at Lida. 

The pursuers gathered around his house, but could not get into it. 
They all died right there. They can be seen now piled on a mountain 

Rat scattered the fire all over the country. 

(Panamint Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

The birds and animals were men. At one time there was no fire 
in this country. 

Lizard was lying in the sun to keep warm. As he lay there he no- 
ticed something falling slowly from the sky. When it came to the 
earth, all the people ran over and looked at it. They said, "What is 
this?" Coyote said, "Don't you know what this is?" They said, 
"No." Coyote said, "This is an ash from a fire in another country. 
What are we going to do about it ? Somebody must go far up in the 
sky to find out from where it came. Wlio can go?" Hummingbird 
said, "I can go." 

Hummingbird started up in the sky, while everybody watched him. 
Coyote tipped his head and squinted one eye, watching him with the 
other. When Hummingbird was far up in the sky. Coyote saw him 
look toward the north, then turn and look toward the east. Then he 
looked toward the south, and, finally, turned toward the west. He 
continued to look a long time toward the west. Soon he came down. 

Wlien he was on the earth again, everybody gathered around him. 
Coyote said, "What about it? What did you see?" Hummingbird 
said that he had seen a big body of water in the west. There were 
many people on the shore, dancing around a huge fire. Coyote said, 
"We must go over and get the fire." 

They started toward the west. On the way Coyote stationed the 
people at intervals. When they got near the fire, Coyote made him- 
self false hair out of string. There were many people dancing 
around the fire. Coyote joined them and began to dance, but they 
did not recognize him. All night as he danced, Coyote tried to catch 
the fire in liis false hair. When it was nearly morning, he caught 
the fire and fled. The people had now lost their fire, and began to 
chase him. 

Coyote ran to the first man he had posted and passed the fire on 
to him. This man ran with it to tlie next man, and in this way 
it was relayed from one to another until it was passed to Jackrabbit. 
Jackrabbit put it on his tail, making his tail black. 


Eat had a house on the top of a tall rock with a smooth, vertical 
face. He sat in his house, while Jackrabbit was coming with the 
fire. The pursuers made hail fall. This hurt Jackrabbit so that he 
squealed as he ran. Rat heard this and came down to meet him. 
He took the fire from Jackrabbit, dodged his pursuers, and scrambled 
up to his house. The fire burned a red place on his breast. 

The people below said, "Catch him, but do not kill him. We want 
the fire." Rat remained in his house and put the fire into a large 
pile of brush. The people below pleaded with him to give them 
some fire. Rat threw the brush in all directions. The brush now 
has the fire in it. You can get it out by making a fire drill of the 


( Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

The people in this country had no pine nuts. They talked about 
going off toward the north to get some. 

They started off toward the northeast. Coyote was among them. 
They went to a big camp where there were many people gathering 
pine nuts. Soon after they arrived, they began to play the hand 
game against these people. But the next day, they did not know 
whether they had lost or won. They went on to another place where 
there were also people who had pine nuts. Here they played a game 
of shooting at a small round target with a bow and arrow. They 
bet their lives in this game; the losers were to be killed by the 
winners. When one side missed the target, its opponents took its 
arrow. Crow was shooting and had only two arrows left. Coyote 
Avatched him. When Coyote saw him losing, he walked around and 
shouted and wondered what to do. Crow was about to shoot at the 
target again. Coyote said to him, "'Why don't you hit the target?" 
Crow shot and missed. He had only one arrow now. When he shot 
this one, he hit the target. Then he began to win. He won back 
everything they had lost and then won everything the other people 
owned. Finall}^, their opponents even bet their pine nuts, and lost 

The people did not want to give up their pine nuts. They hung 
them on a tall tree which had no branches, so that no one could 
climb up. During the night they slept under the tree to prevent 
anyone getting the pine nuts. Cottontail began to play his flute, 
"tu hu du du clu . . ." Some old women who were helping to 
protect the nuts knew that they were going to lose them and began 
to cry for help. Early in the morning, wdiile the people under the 
tree were still asleep, Coyote and the others started to get the pine 
nuts. Coyote said, "What do these old women make a noise for? 
Why don't they go to sleep?" He poked their eyes with a stick and 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS STEWARD 257 

blinded them. Woodpecker (a red woodpecker) flew up in the tree 
and took the pine nuts. 

When Woodpecker brought the pine nuts down, Coyote and the 
people took them and began to run for home. The others pursued 
them and caught those who became tired while they were running. 
They killed every one they caught. Although many people started 
out, nearly all were killed before they got home. 

When nearly all the people were dead, Woodpecker gave the pine 
nuts to Crow. Crow went on with them. He hid them under his 
feathers, behind his ear, and in other parts of his body. The pursuers 
loiew he would hide them this way and tried to hit him. Tliey 
struck his leg and knocked it off. It went a long way through the air. 
Then they struck Crow and brought him to the ground. They said, 
"Now we will wait and take a rest." 

After they had rested, they went on to where Crow had fallen 
and searched his body for the pine nuts. They found that Crow 
had left his feathers behind [i. e., shed his skin] and gone on, taking 
the pine nuts with him. They looked and a long way off saw where 
his leg had fallen, but Crow was far beyond, still carrying his pine 
nuts. They saw pine nut trees all over the mountains, where the 
nuts had fallen from Crow's leg when it was knocked through the 
air. They saw smoke coming up through the trees, where the peo- 
ple were already out picking the pine nuts. Crow was flying about 
crying, "Caw, caw, I have had my pine nuts with me all the time." 

All this happened up by Lida. 

(Smith Valley, Nevada. Shosboni) 

All the birds and animals were men. Yellowhammer and the 
others went to where some people up north had pine nuts. They 
had put their pine nuts in a deer-skin bag, hung high up on a white 
pine tree. Coyote's people played the hand game and other games 
with them. They played for many days and nights. The}' wanted 
the pine nuts. Mouse hunted, hunted, and hunted for the pine 
nuts, but did not see any. The people still played the hand game. 
Finally, Mouse found the deer-hide bag full of pine nuts hanging 
in the tree. 

That night all the owners of the pine nuts went to sleep. During 
the night, Coyote and his people tried to get the pine nuts down. 
Coyote jumped, but he could not jump high enough. All the others 
tried, but none of them could jump high enough. Then Coyote 
asked Woodpecker to try. Woodpecker jumped, but he, too, failed 
to reach the bag of pine nuts. Then all the Woodpeckers took off 
their long beaks. Woodpecker took all these beaks and placed one 


upon another.^ The next time he jumped, he ripped open the deer- 
skin bag and all the pine nuts fell down. 

Coyote's people ate and ate. Finally, there was only one pine 
nut left. 

An old man went to the owners of the pine nuts and cried, "Wake 
up! Wake up! Someone is stealing your pine nuts!" They jumped 
up and ran after the others. As they caught each one of Coyote's 
people, they killed him. They killed many of them, but they did 
not find the pine nut. Coyote's people had relayed it along to the 
fastest runners. Coyote said, "Give me the pine nut. I can run 
fast." They gave it to Coyote. He carried it for a short distance 
and gave it to Crow. 

Crow took the pine nut and bit the end off it. Then he hid it in 
his leg and ran. The pursuers were gaining on him. They shot 
him and killed him. When they came up to him, they kicked him, 
but his leg ran on by itself, making a track to the mountains. All 
of Coyote's people were dead now. 

By the time the pursuers arrived at the mountains, the pine nut 
trees had already grown. They grew all over the mountainsides. 
This was a long time ago. There are no pine nuts on the mountains 
up north where Coyote's people stole them. Only junipers grow 
there now. 

(Elko, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

At one time there were no pine nuts in this country. All the pine 
nuts were up north, where Crane kept them on a high pole. 

One day Crow, Coyote, Frog, Snake, Mouse, and all the other 
animals and birds were lying on a hill, looking down at some boys 
who were playing a game. Suddenly a puff of wind blew from the 
north and they could smell pine nuts cooking. They asked each other 
what the smell was. Coyote said, "It is pine nuts cooking." Crow 
said, "We will go up north and get them." 

All the people started from somewhere south of Beowawee and 
traveled toward the north. They went past Owyhee and could smell 
the pine nuts in the north. On their way, they planned how they 
would get them. They traveled and traveled, many days. Some of 
the people got tired and stopped. Frog, Rattlesnake, and several 
others got tired and could not go any farther. But the long-legged 
persons kept on going toward the north into what is now Idaho. 

When Crow and the others got to Crane's place, where the pine nuts 
were, they suggested that everybody have a round dance. They all 
began to dance; they danced all night, until sunup. The girls at 

' They evidently made one long, composite beak. 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWARD 259 

Crane's place talked about the different men. They said, "Look at 
Coyote. He is a bad man. He is ugly. Look at Skunk." They turned 
Skunk over and said, "He is a pretty boy. White Mouse and White 
Weasel are pretty boys, too." Everybody did the round dance. After 
a while they stopped to eat. Wlien they did this, Weasel and Mouse 
went away to hide ; they went to sleep. 

When morning came, all the people played the hand game. They 
played for bows and arrows, feathers, and other things. They played 
all day. Weasel and Mouse did not join the game because they were 

That night all the people did the round dance again. Mouse and 
Weasel came to the dance, but, after the people had eaten, went away 
to sleep. Everyone danced the round dance for 5 nights and played 
the hand game every day. By the time it was all over, they all went 
to sleep. 

An old woman had been guarding the pine nuts. Mouse and Weasel 
tried to get the nuts, but they were tied on the top of a higli pole and 
could not be reached. They took two woodpecker beaks, tied them 
together, and shot them at the pine nuts. All the pine nuts fell down. 
Crow and his people took the pine nuts and ran toward the south. 
When this happened, the old woman hollered, clapping her hand over 
her mouth. Crane woke up, and told his people to chase the thieves. 
They could see them running in the distance. 

Crow saw that Crane and his people were pursuing them. A small 
bird among Crow's men tried to carry the nuts, but they were too heavy 
for him. Crane's people overtook Crow's people and killed them. 
Only Crow and Coyote remained. Coyote took some of the nuts. 
While he ran, he chewed them up and spit them out everywhere. Pino 
nut trees grew up wherever he spit. Crow also took some and put them 
in his leg. Then he sat down on the saddle of a hill. Crane saw Crow 
put the pine nuts under his arm and in his leg, and, when he came up 
to Crow, kicked and killed him. When he kicked Crow, the nuts were 
scattered all over the mountains. Then Crane looked and saw that 
the mountains were all black with smoke from places where the people 
were roasting pine nuts.* 

Crane took his two children to a place where there was smoke, hoping 
to get some pine nuts to eat. It was Crow's mother's camp. When she 
saw Crane coming, she said, "I will give Crane all the wormy ones." 
When Crane came up to her, she said, "I will open some good, fresh 
pine nuts for you." She opened one and it was full of worms; the 
next one had worms too. She opened one after another and they all 
had worms. 

* B. G. believes that because of Crow's part in procuring pine nuts, crows should not be 
killed today. 


Crane gave up trying to get pine nuts and said, "I -will go down by 
the river and stay there." "^Mien Crane flew away, Crow's mother 
tried to strike him, but only knocked off his tail. That is why cranes 
have short tails. 

Ka7;gwiisi gweak : ^ (Woodrat's tail, pulled off). 


( Winnemucca, Nevada. Northern Paiute) 

The north wind was blowing and Coyote could smell pine nuts. 
Coyote said, "It smells good. I will find the pine nut eaters." He 
traveled to where people were eating pine nuts. They were making 
mush of them. The people said, "Don't make the mush too thick. Put 
plenty of water in it. There is a stranger here. "We don't know what 
he wants. Don't put coarse nuts in the mush. He may steal them." 

Coyote came back and told his own people about it. He said, 
"Those people have fine food. I ate some soup. They made me 
some thin mush without any whole pine nuts in it, so I could not 
steal them. Hurry, pack up and we will go after them." 

Coyote and his people started out to steal the pine nuts. Every- 
body — Chipmunk, Magpie, Chickenhawk. Mouse, Hawk, Skunk — 
everybody went. They were all people. [AA^ien they arrived] they 
gambled with the people in the north. Coyote said, "Mouse, you 
look for the pine nuts, while we play the hand game. They are 
hidden." Coyote told him to find the whole ones. Mouse was small 
and could get into small places. "WTiile they were playing the hand 
game. ]Mouse found the nuts under a house and started to run home 
with them. All Coyote's people ran to help him. 

The northern people followed. They killed Coyote first. Then 
they killed the others. They cut each person open to find the pine 
nuts. [But before each person was overtaken] he had relayed the 
nuts to another. Finally, Rotten-legs (Hawk) was the only person 
left. He had the pine nuts in his leg. They cut Rotten-legs open, 
but did not find anything. His leg stunk so bad that they threw 
it away toward the south. 

The people saw smoke in the hills.'^ The pine nuts [which had 
been scattered when the leg was thrown] grew fast. There used to 
be pine nuts in the north, but now they are all gone. They grow 
around Winnemucca now. 

^ The conventional myth ending, meaning, in effect, "It is finished." 

'Although this story is Ijnown throughout the Basin, it is here told at the northern limit 

of pine nuts. The people to the north actually do not have pine nuts in their territory and 

it may well be in such a place that the story originated. 

"^ This smoke was presumably from the fires of people cooking pine nuts, though it ia not 

explicitly explained in this myth. 


(Panamiut Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

The earth was covered with water. The water dried up quickly. 
At this time the birds and animals were men. 

Coyote was walking along the Panamint Mountains, when he saw 
a very beautiful woman who had very white skin. Her name was 
pabon' posiats, "tan louse." She was carrying a jug of water. 
Coyote followed her, and when he came up to her, he said, "I am 
very thirsty. Give me a drink of water." She pointed to a place 
(about one-half a mile away) and told him to go over there, and she 
would give him a drink. Coyote did so. When she came up to 
him, she again y^ointed to a distant place and told him to go there. 
In this way she continued to put him off until they reached her 

The girl lived with her mother. The mother said to her, "Wliere 
did you get him?" Coyote went to some water and started to drink. 
Wliile he was drinking the girl tried to strike him several times, 
but Coyote dodged each time. Then she said to him, "You go into 
the house," pointing to a big hole in the house. Coyote went in, 
and saw many bows and arrows around the walls of the house.^ 

During the night Coyote's advances toward the women were frus- 
trated ® . . . In the morning Coyote asked the woman who owned 
the bows and arrows. She told him to take them and to hunt some 
ducks. That day Coyote killed ducks and caught fish, which he 
brought back to the house. 

In the evening the women cooked the ducks. They ate some and 
disposed of some . . . 

That night Coyote made advances to both the girl and her mother 
. . . By morning the girl's belly was large. She began to bear 
children, putting them into a large basketry water jug. She told 
Coyote that they were his babies. Wlien Coyote was ready to leave, 
the girl said to him, "Carry the babies in the jug. These babies 
will cry for water, but you must be careful. If you give them 
water, open the stopper only a little or they will get out." She 
showed him how to give them water. 

Coyote started out carrying the jug, which was very heavj'. As 
he went along, the babies cried, "I want water. I am dry !" Coyote 
said, "They are thirsty; maybe they will die." Coyote opened the 

^ The inference is tliat these weapons belonged to men who had previously visited her 
and whom she had killed. 

^ In this and in subsequent versions of this tale, the familiar vagina dentatum theme is 
used to explain the failure of Coyote's amorous advances. Coyote remedies the situation by 
using a piece of wood or mountain sheep neck. The theme also is made to account for the 
disposition of part of the food eaten by the women. Deletions of this material are indicated 
by dots. 


jug, and the babies all ran out. They went in all directions.^" The 
boys fought among themselves with bows and arrows. These people 
became the different Indian tribes. 

(Death Valley, California. Shosboui) 

Coyote had a home. He hunted rabbits to make a rabbit-skin 
blanket. When he had a great many skins, he started to make the 
blanket in his house. Wliile he was working on his blanket, he saw 
a shadow pass the door. He went out of the door to see what it was, 
and saw a woman running. She had a rabbit's tail on her buttocks. 
He chased the woman, and she ran toward the west. Coyote ran fast, 
but could get no closer to her. He chased her to the ocean." 

At the edge of the ocean the woman stopped and sat down. She 
said, "I will lie on my back and swim across and carry you over." 
They started across, the woman carrying him. When they had gone 
a little way, Coyote moved down on her. The woman dumped him 
off into the water. Coyote had already decided that, if she put him 
oft' into the water, he would turn himself into a water skate ("some little 
long-legged insect that runs on the water"). Wlien she pushed him 
into the water, he turned into the skate and crossed the ocean. He 
reached the other side before the woman. 

When Coyote got to the other side he found a tree and made himself 
a bow. He took green stringy stuff from the water, which he put 
on the back of his bow instead of sinew. He made the bow string of 
the same thing. Then he found some cane, made arrows, and began 
to shoot ducks. He took the ducks to the woman's house. 

There were two women living at this house, the woman he had fol- 
lowed and her mother.^- The women were sitting outside their house. 
They told Coyote to go inside and sit down. When Coyote went in, 
lie saw quivers made of fox skin hanging all over the wall.^^ 

The women started to cook the ducks. They ate the ducks; both 
women ate. Coyote was singing. He made a hole in the house and 
watched the women. After eating the meat, the women disposed of 
the bones. . . . Both of them did this. 

They went into the house to sleep. Coyote made advances to the 
woman he had pursued. He was frustrated ... In the morning, 
Coyote went out and got a hard stick. It was a kind of hard sage 

i» G. H. added that some paper was lost at this time, implying that the Indians had known 
how to write, but that the art was lost when Coyote opened the jug. 

" The informauf s English term. The Shoshoni word would probably be translated 
"large water," i. e., "lake." 

^ They were given no names. 

" No mention here is made of the owners of the quivers. 


brush. He hid it by the house . . . The next morning, Coyote 
hunted mountain sheep. He killed a small one and took the bone 
from its neck. He put the neck bone by the house in the same place 
he had hidden the stick. . . . He made successful advances that 
night . . . 

In the morning, both women were large m the belly. The older 
one started to weave a basketry water jug. She finished making the 
jug. Both women put their babies in the jug. When they had 
finished, they told Coyote to go back home and to take the jug full of 
babies with him. Coyote started. When he came to the ocean, the 
old woman put a flat stick across it and Coyote walked over on it. He 
came toward his home. He went to Owens Valley. 

While he was carrying the jug, he heard a noise. He wondered 
what it was. He pulled the stopper out of the jug. Indians came 
out; many Indians. When only a few were left inside the jug, he 
put the stopper back. The woman had told him to pull it out when 
he came to the middle of the world, but he had pulled it out when 
he heard the noise. He put the stopper in again and came on to Death 
Valley. In Death Valley he pulled it out again, and the remaining 
Indians came out. They stayed here. That is why there are Indians 
here now. 

(Beatty, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

Every day Coyote met a girl. The girl lived with her mother, who 
said, "Why don't you bring that Coyote here? He will hunt game for 
us. Bring him home." 

When Coyote met the girl again, he became amorous. She said. 
"All right, but I shall go a little way ahead. Then j'ou come." The 
girl went some distance toward the east and stopped. When Coyote 
came up to her he said, "This is the place." She said, "No, it is 
farther." She went ahead again, and when Coyote came to where 
she was, the same thing happened. Every time he came up to her, 
Coyote made advances. Thus, they went from place to place and 
crossed a high mountain. 

While crossing the mountain, they came to a cliff. What Coyote 
discovered while climbing the cliff . , , frightened him. Coyote 
continued to follow the girl, and they went toward the east, where 
the girl and her mother had a house. 

Coyote and the girl reached the house. That night the girl's 
mother, an old woman, cooked all kinds of food for them to eat. 
She said to Coyote and the girl, "You go and make a bed outside." 
Coyote . . . knew what to expect , . . He was frustrated. 


In the morning the old woman said to Coyote, "You go and hunt 
ducks. There are a lot of arrows out there. Take them with you. 
Hunt all day and kill many ducks." " 

Coyote hunted all day and brought back a great many ducks. The 
old woman plucked them and boiled them in a pot. She and her 
daughter ate the meat. Coyote sat to one side. He could see how 
they disposed of the bones . . . 

That night Coyote's advances were frustrated . . , 

In the morning the old woman said to Coyote, "You go and hunt 
again. Hunt mountain sheep. There are arrows outside. Take them 
with you." Coyote said, "I am a great hunter. All right. I will go 
and hunt." 

Coyote walked up into the mountains. Coyote was a smart man. 
Halfway up the mountain, he saw a mountain sheep. It was young 
and small and had short horns that were still soft and weak. 
Coyote wejit after the small sheep and killed it at once. He shot it. 
He butchered it and prepared it. He wanted a piece of the neck, 
because the neck is strong. He cut off a piece of the neck and said, 
"I do not want to give this to those women." He hid it. 

Coyote went back to the women's house that night. The old woman 
met him and took the sheep. She looked it over and said, "Coyote, 
what did you do with that neck?" Coyote said, "I threw it away." 
The old v>'oman said, "It is good to eat." The old woman and the girl 
boiled the meat. Tliey ate it, and when they were through it was 

The old woman said, "You two make a bed." The girl made a bed. 
Coyote was still lustful. The girl was very fine; she was a good 
looking girl . . . Coyote went to where he had hidden the moun- 
tain sheep's neck. He returned bringing it with him . . . He 
visited both the girl and the old woman . . . 

In the morning, Coyote went out to hunt ducks. He brought 
back a great many ducks for the women to eat. The women plucked 
and boiled the ducks. They ate off the meat, then pulverized the 
bones with a rock. 

That niglit Coyote again visited the women. 

The old woman made a basketry water jug, a very large jug. She 
worked on it for several days. Coj^ote stayed with the women. 
Ever}'- day he hunted. 

After a few days, the old woman said to him, "You must go home. 
Carry that jug with you. Don't open it while you are traveling. 
Don't open it anywhere. When you come to the middle of the coun- 
try, open it." 

^* T. S. did not know the source of these arrows, but supposed that the old woman had 

Coyote started out carrying the jug, but it was too heavy. He said, 
"What is in this jug? It is too heavj^ I want to open it and see 
what is in it." He decided to open it. He took a rock and hammered 
open the stopper. At once people jumped out. Many people jumped 
out. Nearly all the people jumped out. There were young men and 
young women. These were fine looking men and women. This 
happened near Saline Valley.^" 

When only a few people remained in the jug, Coyote put the 
stopper back in. He carried the jug on his back and went on toward 
his own country. When he had gone half way, he opened it again. 
This was at Owens River.^'^ Old and homely people came out. A 
great many people came out. Then Coyote threw away the jug. 

That is how men and women were made. 


(Ash Meadows, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

One day, Coyote went out to hunt rabbits. While he was hunting, 
he saw a large naked woman in the distance. This excited him. He 
said to himself, "Whew, I have never seen a woman like that. I will 
follow her." He followed her for a long time, but could not quite 
overtake her. He followed her over many mountains. Wlien he came 
to Wliite Mountain [Fish Lake Valley], he was very thirsty. He saw 
that the woman was carrying a tiny basketry water jug, and he asked 
her for a drink. She gave him the little jug, and he drank and drank, 
but still there was water left in it. Then she walked on, and he fol- 
lowed her. 

Finally, they came to a large lake of water. The woman said, "My 
home is over there." She crossed the lake on top of the water. Coyote 
said, "I cannot do that. I will walk around." The woman turned 
and gave Coyote the legs of a water bug [skate?] that runs on the 
top of the water. Coyote followed her over to her house. 

The woman lived in a house with her mother, who was called 
tsutsip", "ocean," maa'puts, "old woman." She was like Eva, the first 
woman. Eva had never seen a man before. In the morning, Eva got 
up very early and began to weave a fine, big water jug. Coyote 
stayed with the women for several days. 

One day Coyote went hunting for deer. He wondered what was 
the matter [with the women] . . . He asked his stomach, his ears, 
his nose, and his foot what was the matter. None of them could tell 
him. Then a white hair on the end of his tail said, "You are just like 
a little boy. Take a neck bone . . . and use that." 

1^ These are Shoshoni. 

'" These are Northern Palute. 

435660 — 43 18 


Coyote did this . . . 

Coyote went out to hunt. The old woman had nearly finished her 
big water jug. The two women told each other that they were preg- 
nant. When the jug was finished, they gave birth to many tiny babies, 
all like little dolls, and put them in the jug. 

When Coyote returned, they said to him, "Maybe your brother, 
Wolf, is lonesome for you. We want you to go back home." Coyote 
said, "All right, I will go." Eva then said to the children, "You have 
no home here. You must go with Coyote." She put the basket of chil- 
dren on Coyote's back, and told him to carry it with him. It was very 
heavy, but Coyote said that he had carried deer down from the moun- 
tains on his back, so that he was strong and did not object. 

The women instructed Coyote about the jug. They said, "Wlien you 
come to Saline Valley, open the stopper just a little way, then replace 
it quickly. When you come to Death Valley, open it a little more. At 
Tin Mountain (Charleston Peak) open it half way. When you are in 
Moapa, take the stopper out all the way." Coyote said he would 
do this. 

Coyote carried the jug along, but soon became very tired and could 
scarcely hold it. Wlien he arrived in Saline Valley, he opened the 
stopper a little way. Tall, dark, handsome men and girls jumped 
out and ran away. These were the best looking people in the jug. 
This frightened Coyote, but he put the stopper back, and picked up 
the jug. In Death Valley, he opened it again. Here, more handsome 
people jumped out and ran away. The girls all had long, beautiful 
hair. When he came to Ash Meadows, he opened it. The Paiute 
and Shoshoni came out. These people were fine looking, too. At 
Tin Mountain, Coyote let some fairly good people out of the jug. 
Wlien he opened it in Moapa, very poor, short, ugly people came out. 
The girls here had short hair with lice in it. All the people had 
sore eyes. That is the way the are now. 

This is the way Eva had her first children. Coyote was the father. 

(Big Smoky Valley, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

Wolf had a big water jug. He said to his brother, Coyote, "Coy- 
ote, don't touch or open this jug. Be careful!" Then Wolf went 
away. Coyote said, "Wliat is the matter with my brother ? What is 
in that jug? Wliy did he tell me not to open it? I am going to 
open it." Coyote pulled out the stopper. 

Many people came out and flew away." He replaced the stopper. 

" "Flew away" is probably the informant's confusion, rather than part of the native tale. 
In fact, this legend is not only synoptic, but probably incomplete. 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWARD 267 

while a few remained. The good ones had come out and had flown 
away like flies. 

Wolf told Coyote they were going to move. He told Coyote to 
carry the big jug. They went to Smoky Valley. Wolf did not 
know that Coyote had opened the jug. He thought all the people 
were still in. When they came to Smoky Valley, Wolf said, "Open 
that jug !" Just a few Indians came out. They are the Shoshoni. 

(Skull Valley, Utah. Gosiute) 

Two women, a mother and her daughter, lived on an island in 
Great Salt Lake . . . 

Sinav and Coyote lived in Skull Valley. After the girl had killed 
all the men in the world, she came to get Coyote. Sinav told her 
that there was no [such person as] Coyote. 

Sinav went with the woman toward her home. It was very hot 
and they had no water. After a while the woman wanted to rest 
under a tree but Sinav knew better [than to let her stop]. He said, 
"No, we must go on." They went on to Great Salt Lake. The woman 
walked across on the water to the island. Sinav stayed near the 
shore, standing in the water. The girl's mother said to her, "Wliy 
don't you bring him over?" The girl made a path of earth through 
the water. Sinav walked over to the island, the water closing in 
behind him all the way.^* 

Sinav went hunting and brought back deer. Tlie women ate the 
meat and disposed of the bones . . . Sinav killed two mountain 
sheep, an old one and a young one. He first used the neck of the 
old one . . . Then he used the neck of the young one . . . 

For several days Sinav hunted and brought in two deer each day. 
Each night he visited the women. Each woman bore a baby daily 
and put it in a large basketry jug. The jug became larger each day. 

Finally, the older woman told Sinav to go South and take the 
jug with him. She made a path of dirt across the lake to the shore. 
Sinav crossed, and the water closed in behind him. At first, as he 
walked along, the jug was light and easy to carry. It became 
heavier. After a while, he had to set it down. He went on again 
and set it down again. Each time he went a shorter distance before 
he had to set it down. This happened five or six times. 

Sinav heard a buzzing noise like a bee inside the jug. He wanted 
to look. When he began to open it, men jumped out and made a 
lot of dust. They knocked him over and ran away. Three times 

"This Is probably Antelope Island, which, in years of exceptionally low water, is joined 
to the mainland. 


he removed the stopper and people came out. He watched them. 
They ran in all directions. They were the Shoshoni, Ute, Paiute, 
and other tribes. The last man to come out was all covered with dust. 
He was the Gosiute.^'' He is tougher than other people ; he is bullet- 


(Death Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

At one time many people lived at Koso Hot Springs. These were 
animals who were then people. Even Sun was a person. Bear and 
all kinds of animals were there. 

The people were going to have a race. In this race they bet them- 
selves [that is, their lives]. Two of them made a fire to cook those 
who lost the race. One of the firemakers was Mudhen.^" 

Every one went south to a place where there were some willows. 
Coyote was with them. Many people, who were going to race, 
gathered there. When the race started, Coyote walked off to the 
willows and began to eat a white sugar [sap] on the stems. Frog 
went to Coyote and struck him. Coyote came out of the willows and 
found that all the people had gone. He started to run ; he was way 
behind them. As he ran he saw Frog ahead of him, sitting down. 
Coyote stopped and urinated on Frog. Then he went on. Soon he 
saw Frog ahead of him again sitting down. Again he urinated on 
Frog and ran on. The people were getting close to Koso Hot 
Springs. While they ran, Frog jumped over Coyote and urinated 
on him. The people were near Koso Hot Springs. Frog got there 
first and won the race. After the race, the firetenders threw the 
losers into the fire. Only Bear and Sun remained. When they 
started to drag Bear to the fire, he roared, but they threw him into 
it. Only Sun was left. The people started to talk about Sun. They 
said, "We had better leave him so that there will be light." Coyote, 
who was chief, said, "If he had beaten me, he would have thrown me 
into the fire. We must throw him in." Coyote took hold of Sun. 
When he did this, Nighthawks, Chipmunks, and all the other people 
ran for the house.^^ Coyote dragged Sun to the fire. His friends 
were afraid that it would be dark; they ran to the house. When 
Coyote was ready to throw Sun into the fire, he looked to see which 
way he would have to run to get to the house. Then he pushed Sun 
into the fire and all went dark. Coyote ran toward the house but 

^» The literal translation is Gosip, "dust," and Ute, from the fact that the Gosiute live in 
the very dusty, alkali deserts south of Great Salt Lake. 

"" I'ossibly hell-diver, a bird which has a red eye, said to have been caused by making the 
fire. B. D. doesn't remember who the other firemaker ^\as. 

^1 In other versions. Coyote had allowed his people time to build a house before throwing 
Sun into the fire. 


could not find it. He ran around looking for it and shouting. The 
people in the house heard him, but would not answer. Coyote looked 
all around, shouted, but heard no answer. He found a flat stick, a 
kind of paddle, and knew that he was near the house. He said to 
himself, "I am here." He had climbed over the house many times 
before, but had not known where he was. 

All this had happened in the fall, and Coyote had traveled around 
all winter looking for the house. He became thin. In the spring 
he was still looking for the house. Wliile he was looking, the people 
inside talked about him. They said, "We had better tell him to 
come here. He is smart. He might tell us what to do." After this, 
they answered Coyote when he shouted. Coyote went inside the 
house. Wliile he was crawling in. Chipmunk sat by the door. Coy- 
ote put his hand on Chipmunk and said, "I am putting my hand on 
my brother-in-law." He went on into the house. 

Owl and Nighthawk went out into the darkness to get green plants 
to eat. They did not give any to Coyote. Coyote heard them chew- 
ing, and said, "What are you people eating?" They put some of it 
into Coyote's mouth. Coyote said, "I don't want you to do that." 
They said, "We have been eating that kind of stuff (tuhuvida)." 

Coyote started to talk. He said, "We had better start to make 
the sun. There are a lot of different kinds of people here. Some 
of us ought to know how to make the sun." The people said, "That 
is fine." Some of them started to shout, and a little light appeared. 
Nighthawk wanted it all dark, because he traveled at night. All 
the people were there. Coyote said, "When I shout, the sun will 
come out." Coyote shouted and it became completely dark again. 
Woodpecker and Mallard Duck were there. They shouted, and the 
sun came out. After this, the people came out and found that there 
were many green plants everywhere. 

Coyote started to eat tuhuvida. Coyote said, "I am going to make 
it sweeter," and urinated on it,-^ After this, some of the people tasted 
it. It had been sweet before, but Coyote made it salty and bitter. 


(Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

All the animals were down south somewhere (pitiwana). All of 
them — Crow, Badger, Lizard, Coyote, the birds — were racing against 
Sun. Frog was in the lead, and reached Koso Hot Springs before 
Sun. When he got there, he waited for the other animals to arrive. 

When all the animals had arrived, they built a large house for all 
the people. They all went into the house and left Coyote to throw 

^ Tuhuvida, some kind of plant with yellow flowers. It was sometimes eaten by Slioshoni, 
but has an unpleasant flavor for which Coyote is held responsible. 


Sun in the fire. Before Coyote did this, he looked carefully to see 
where the house was. Then he threw Sun into the fire and all be- 
came dark. This is M^hy the springs are hot now. 

Coyote set out for the house in the darkness, but could not find it. 
He searched all over for it. He wandered around for a year. He 
was very thin by this time. 

The people in the house began to talk about Coyote. They said 
he was the smartest of them all; they wanted him. They began to 
look for him, and found him close by. It was springtime. Coyote 
was very thin. The people brought him into the house and gave 
him a corner in which to rest. 

The people wanted Sun back. They asked each other how they 
could get Sun again. Mallard Duck said, "Quack, quack, quack," and 
every animal made his noise, trying to bring Sun back. Wlien 
Mallard quacked, a little light, like dawn, began to show. They 
asked Coyote to make his noise ; when he did so it went dark again. 
Duck quacked again, and it began to get light. The third time Duck 
quacked. Sun came out. The people saw that it was springtime; 
everything was green. They went out of the house. 

Sun was close to the earth. They killed him, took his gall out, 
and threw it high in the sky. 


(Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

Coyote had a house in Saline Valley where he lived alone. He 
decided to make a basket and he went out to gather willows. He 
did this for many days. Wliile he was gathering the willows he 
heai'd a sound but did not know what caused it. He said, "Oh, what 
was that noise I just heard?" There were green blowflies all over 
Coyote. The flies buzzed so loudly he could not hear the noise. . . . 
He killed them. After he had killed all the flies he knew what the 
noise was. It was somebody singing. Then Coyote began to sing 
and dance, carrying all his basket willows. He said, "Maybe I am 
going to be a doctor." 

Wliile he danced, he heard someone laughing at him. He looked 
up in the air and saw that Geese were laughing. He said, "What 
are you fellows, my brothers, doing up there?" Geese said, "We 
are going to eat eggs." Coyote said, "I think I will go along with 
you fellows." He dropped the basket willows and ran along under 
the Geese. 

After a while, the Geese rested on the ground to wait for Coyote. 
They said, "We had better give some feathers to Coyote." When 
Coyote overtook them, each one gave him a feather. After this, 
they pointed to a mountain some distance off and said, "You fly 


around that hill and try your feathers." Coyote put on the feathers, 
and flew away saying, "Wo' wo' wo'." The Geese told Coyote to 
land on a certain mountain top and face them. But he lighted on 
it, with his back to them. The Geese did not like to have Coyote's 
back to them. It made them angry. 

Coyote left the mountain and walked back to the Geese. They 
were angry and killed him. They smashed his head with a rock. 
Then they flew away toward the east (Hauta). Coyote lay dead. 

When Coyote came to life again, he stretched and placed his hands 
behind his head. His fingers felt his brain, which was running out 
of his skull. He said "My brothers have left me something to eat," 
and he began to eat, thinking his brains were food they had given 
him. Then he got up and found that he had been eating his own 
brains. He said, "I was eating my own brain," and vomited. 

Then Coyote looked for the Geese. He saw them way over the 
mountains, toward the east. Coyote picked up some rocks and put 
them into his head, in place of the brains he had eaten, and started 
after the Geese. He went to the top of the mountain where he had 
seen the Geese, and saw that they were over the next mountain to the 
east. He went on to that mountain, and saw that they were over the 
next one to the east. In this way, Coyote kept going until he came 
to the shore of the ocean. 

Here he saw many people, lying scattered on the shore, with their 
faces down. They were all dead. He turned over each one to look 
under him for eggs, but the Geese had eaten all of them. 

One woman was lying at .some distance from the others; she had 
one egg. Coyote cut her open, and found a girl baby. He said to 
the baby, "You are going to be my sister." Then he said, "You are 
going to be my baby." Coyote got himself some clay and made him- 
self like a woman, with all the parts. He built a fire and steamed 
himself, as women do after childbirth. After this he drank only 
warm water. In this way Coyote made himself into a woman to 
nurse and care for the baby. 

Coyote started back for her old home, carrying the baby on her 
back. While she traveled along, the baby became bigger each day. 
As the girl rapidly grew bigger, Coyote began to remove the clay 
which he had used to make himself into a woman. He changed him- 
self back into a man, for the girl had grown very large. He said to 
her, "You wdll be my wife." But the girl said to him, "When you 
first cut open the woman and found me as a baby, you called me 
sister." Coyote said, "No, I called you my wife then." The girl said, 
"No you didn't, you called me sister." Coyote said, "No, I called 
you my wife." Coyote liked that girl. 


Coyote and the girl stayed, together that night. She became preg- 
nant at once. They traveled on toward this country. A baby was 
born on the trail. Coyote began to weave a water jug. When he 
finished it, he put the baby inside. His wife disappeared, and Coyote 
came home alone, carrying the jug with the baby inside. 

When Coyote arrived in his own country, he set the jug down. 
Out came dozens of boys and girls, fully grown, walking by themselves. 
The first to come out were fine looking, but they had no bows and 
arrows. They started off toward the north, running and raising a 
big dust. Coyote shouted, "Wait ! I want to pick some of the best 
ones for my people." Fine looking people without bows and arrows 
also ran across the mountains to the west. Those that went toward 
the east (siivii watii niimii) were scrubby people, and carried bows 
and quivers full of arrows. Those who went south were also scrubby, 
and had bow and arrows. These were Coyote's people, the Shoshoni. 
Those who went north, settled at different places along Owen's Valley. 
They were the Northern Paiute. 

If Coyote had not found a live egg on the shore of the ocean, there 
wouldn't be any people. 


(Ash Meadows, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

Wolf's younger brother was Coyote. One day Coyote was hunting 
on the other side of the hills, east of the Armagosa Desert. Near 
Manse he saw a man going south and began to follow him. After a 
while he came to a place where there are rows of rocks which look 
like white geese resting on fine, w^hite earth. These were Swans who 
were sitting and smoking.^^ 

When Coyote came to the Swans, he said, "I want to go with you 
fellows.-' The Swans offered him some of their featliers. They 
put them along his arms and legs, and told him to try them out. They 
said, "You fly to that little hill. Don't go too far. Go around it 
once and come back." Coyote agreed to do that. They asked him 
how he felt. He said, "I feel fine." He flapped his new wings, 
shouted, and commenced to fly. He flew around the hill twice. This 
made the Swans very angry; they scolded him when he returned. 
They smashed his head with a large flat rock, then flew away to the 

When the Swans were over the mountains to the west, Coyote 
woke up and said, "Where are those men? There is no one here." 
He saw only the white rocks on the ground. Then he saw the Swans 
in the sky over the mountains to the west, and began to follow them. 

-' It is not clear whether the rocks were swans, or whether there was a swan opposite 
each rock. Probably these were geese, not swans. 31] WESTERN" SHOSHONI MYTHS STEWARD 273 

When he reached the top of the mountains where he had seen them, 
they were over the mountains bordering Saline Valley. He went on, 
but by the time he came to those mountains, the Swans were over 
the Inyo Mountains. He continued to follow them, but when he came 
to the Inyo summit, they were over the Sierra Nevada range. 

Wlien Coyote reached the summit of the Sierra Nevada Moun- 
tains, he saw no one. To the west there was nothing but water. He 
walked around wondering what to do. He saw some people camping 
near the edge of the water. He went down to see them and found 
that they were all dead. There were dead men, women, and babies. 
They had been killed by the Swans. 

Wliile he was looking at the dead people, he found a woman with 
a baby part way out of her chest. The baby was crying. Coyote 
pulled the baby all the way out, and said, "What am I going to do?" 
He asked his stomach what to do, but his stomach said nothing. He 
asked his ears, but they merely straightened up. He asked his nose, 
but it said nothing because it only had a big hole at the end. He 
asked his mouth, but it merely drew back into a grin. He asked his 
foot, but the toes pinched up together. He said, "HuiTy up! Tell 
me, the baby is crying. What shall I do?" He asked his tail. 
The tail straightened up, and a white hair on the tip of it stood up, 
and said, "You are foolish ! Fix that baby ! Make a fire and heat 
some water. Wash the baby and tie up its navel, or the blood will 
all run out. Tie it up with buckskin. Get some white clay, Coyote, 
and make yourself breasts and nipples. Steam them in the fire and 
they will become full of milk. Then give some to the baby. To- 
night dig a hole and build a fire in it. Heat five little rocks and 
put them in it. Cover it up with brush and earth, then lie on it. 
That will be good for your blood. Later on, people will do this way. 
In the morning, wash the baby. Stay here 5 days, and then the 
afterbirth will come out." Coyote did as he was told. He stayed 
there 5 days and took care of the baby. 

After this. Coyote decided to go home to his brother. He carried 
the baby on his back, and went home the way he had come. While 
he traveled, the baby grew fast. She grew to be a girl, and Coyote 
wanted to marry her. When Coyote got home he said to Wolf, 
"This girl is my wife." Wolf, who knew everything, said "Shame 
on you. That is your daughter, not your wife." Coyote said, "Oh, 
yes, she is my daughter. I was just fooling." 

In the morning, Wolf said, "Let us go and kill some fresh meat 
for the girl." Coyote said, "All right." They went out to a high 
place in the mountains, where they killed a deer. Wolf said, "You 
skin it right here. Do it yourself, and don't ask the girl to help 
you." Coyote said, "All right. Oh, yes, I will do it myself." He 


started to skin the deer, and then called the girl to help him. He 
told her how she should cut through the skin and fat. While she 
was cutting it, she shook some blood from her knife. When Coyote 
saw this, he said, "Oh, you are bleeding. You shouldn't eat meat. 
It will make you old and wrinkled. You should work hard and 
carry lots of wood, then you will live to be old. Now go off and 
get some wood." This scolding made the girl angry, but she said, 
"All right, I will get some wood." She went off and did not return. 
Wolf came to Coyote, and said, "Where has the girl gone?'' 
Coyote said, "Oh, she has gone after some wood." Wolf said, "I 
know. You scolded her. You wouldn't let her eat any of her meat. 
Now she is angry and has gone away and left you." Coyote said, 
"Yes, that is right, I scolded her." Wolf said, "She has gone way up 
in the mountains to the north." He told Coyote where she had 
gone. He said that she had met Mountain Sheep, who was a hand- 
some young man, and he had taken her to live in a cave in the 

(Lida, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

Coyote and his brother Wolf had a camp in the Shoshoni Moun- 
tains. They had no baskets. Wolf asked Coyote to get some willows 
and make a basket. Coyote found the willows, cut them down, and 
rolled them up in a bundle. He heard a noise like singing, but he 
did not know where it came from. He looked and looked for the 
source of the singing. He put his willows on his back and departed 
from Wolf's camp. 

Coyote soon began to dance with the willows on his back. He said, 
"Now I am a doctor." He asked some seeds on the ground, "How 
do I look while I am dancing?" He still heard the singing. Finally, 
he looked up in the air and saw some Geese who sang as they flew. 
Coyote called to them, "Which way are you going? Wait, boys, 
I want to go with you." But the Geese said, "No; we cannot take 
that Coyote along." Coyote continued calling to them to wait for 
him, but they started to fly north. Coyote then took the willows 
from his back and followed them, singing as they sang. 

The Geese tired of having Coyote follow them. They stopped 
to wait for him to see what he wanted. They sat on some little 
round hills and waited. Soon Coyote came up to them, panting and 
sweating. He said, "I am tired. Each of you, give me one of your 
feathers and I will stick them in my arms and fly as you do," Each 
gave him one of his feathers, and he stuck them along his arms. 

Tlie Geese said to Coyote, "When you fly, go down to that Httle 
hill and stop there. Be sure to sit down facing away from us." 
Coyote said, "All right, I will." 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWAED 275 

Coyote ran along the ground, flapping his wings. His feet rose 
from the ground a little way. Then he rose higher and higher in 
the air. He was flying. He flew down to the little hill the Geese 
had indicated, but when he lighted on it, he faced the Geese. At 
this they became angry. They went to Coyote and smashed his head 
with rocks. Coyote died. 

Wlien Coyote awoke, he was lying on his back. He stretched 
himself and as his hands passed over his head he felt something 
soft near his head. He thought the Geese had left him mush to 
eat. He ate it with his fingers. Then he sat up. He felt his head 
and found that there was a large wound in it, and that lie had eaten 
his brains, thinking they were mush. He vomited. 

Coj'ote stood up and saw that the Geese were far away over the 
mountains. He said to himself, "I will travel on." He followed 
the Geese to the mountains, but w^hen he arrived at the summit, he 
found that they had crossed the next range and were still far ahead 
of him over another range. He follow^ed them to that range, and 
saw that they were over the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 
When he came to the summit of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, he 
could not see the Geese anywhere. 

Coyote started down into the valley, but at the canyon mouth he 
saw many Indians lying dead. He looked at them all but every 
one was dead. He saw one woman with a large belly, but she too 
was dead. He took his knife and cut her belly; inside, he found a 
little baby girl. He said to this girl, "You are my sister. Yes, 
you must be my little sister." 

Coyote made a willow cradle for the baby. He tied her to it, and 
told her, "We are going to my brother's camp." He carried her 
on his back, and started out. On the journey the girl grew very 
fast. Coyote called her his sister all the time. The girl was walking 
before they reached Wolf's camp. 

When Coyote arrived at Wolf's camp he left the girl, who was 
now a young woman, outside the camp and went in to see Wolf. 
Coyote said, "I have a wife. I left her outside the camp." Wolf 
said, "That is not your wife, that is our sister. Bring her into camp." 
Coyote said, "No, that is not our sister. That is my wife." Wolf 
said, "She is our sister," and he went out and brought her in. He 
gave her a place to sit. 

Tlie girl stayed for a little while, and then wanted to go back 
home. As she was leaving. Wolf gave her a stick painted white. 
He said to her, "Take this stick and when you are a short distance 
from camp, throw it over your head. Then turn around and look 
and you will see something." The girl put the stick on her back, and 
walked away. When she had traveled a short distance, she threw 


the stick over her head. She turned around to look and saw that it 
had become a little boy. This was her brother. She took him with 
her and they returned to their home. 

When they had been there a little while, the girl cut some willows 
and made two baskets. One was very good and finely woven. The 
other was a poor basket. The girl gave them to the young boy and 
told him to take them back to Wolf's camp. She told him to give 
the good basket to Wolf and the poor one to Coyote. She also told 
him not to go into any caves. This boy was Coyote and Wolf's nephew 
(nadabu, ''sister's son"). 

Wliile the young man was traveling to Coyote's camp, a heavy 
rain started to fall. He saw a cave ahead. He said, "I am not going 
to sleep out tonight and get wet," He went into the cave, and spent 
the night there. In the morning he stood up and bumped his head 
on the roof of the cave. He found that he had two big horns. He 
said, "I am a mountain sheep." He left the baskets in the cave, and 
jumped out on top of some big rocks by the cave. He said, "Now I 
know I am a sheep," He found two other sheep. They went with 
him to Coyote's and Wolf's camp. This Mountain Sheep, Wolf's 
nephev\-, had some beads around his neck. 

Wlien the Sheep approached the camp, Coyote said, "We must 
go out and kill that ram.'' Wolf said, "No, that is our nephew." 
Wolf saw the beads around Mountain Sheep's neck. 

There were two brothers, also Wolf's and Coyote's nephews, who 
lived in the air, directly above the camp. They, too, saw the Moun- 
tain Sheep. The younger brother said to the older. "We must kill 
that ram." The older said, "No, that mountain sheep has beads 
around his neck. That is Coyote's nephew," The younger brother 
did not believe this, and continued to talk all day, asking the older 
brother to help him kill the ram. The older brother finally became 
tired of hearing the younger talk, and said, "All right. Go down 
and kill him," After the younger brother had killed Mountain 
Sheep, he saw the beads around his neck. He was sorry, because he 
knew then what he had done. 

The younger brother said to the older one, "I am dry as a fish.^* 
I want some water." Both went down to the spring to get a drink. 
Wolf asked Spider to make a fire. He asked Spider to put heavy 
rocks in it, so that they would get hot. Spider did as he was told. 
While the two brothers from the sky were drinking at the spring, 
Spider hit both of them with the hot rocks from the fire. Then he 
crawled inside them and killed them. 

The simile is not obvious ; and almost certainly is not native. 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWARD 277 

Wolf was singing, "Our nephew has been killed. Dig a hole and 
bury him there," Coyote said, "Wliat kind of brush shall I use?" 
Wolf cried, and, finally, Coyote cried, 

(Big Smoky Valley, Nevada. Shosiioni) 

Goose said to Coyote, "I'll give you wings. See those two sharp 
mountains? One is farther away. If I give you wings, you can 
fly up to that hill." Coyote said, "All right," 

Goose pulled some of his feathers out and stuck them along 
Coyote's arms and said, "If you fly, sit on that mountain and wait 
for me. Don't go away, I will watch you," Goose sat down to 
watch. Coyote said, "All right," and went, saying "Wa' wa' wa'." 
He felt good. He said, "I don't want to sit on that hill, I feel 
good," He flew a long way and fell down. 

Goose was watching him and found him. He went to Coyote and 
broke his head. Coyote's brains ran out and he died. 

When he came to life he felt his brains and said. "My nephews 
gave me some mush," He ate some. Then he found that his head 
was broken and that he had been eating his own brains. He vom- 
ited. Goose came and found him and said, "You are bad, adabu !" 
He took his wings away from Coyote and left him. 

Coyote cried. He did not know what to do, 

( Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

Cottontail (Rabbit) and his old mother lived in a house in Sa- 
line Valley, One day Cottontail went out to kill Sun, He took 
all the arrows he could carry. He started off toward the east and 
slept on a hillside that night. Wlien Sun came up next morning, 
it poked Cottontail on his back to tease him. That is why Cotton- 
tail's back is yellow. 

Cottontail saw that Sun had come up on a mountain farther to 
the east. He went over there. Next day he saw that Sun had 
come up on a mountain still farther to the east. He v/ent over there. 
]n this way Cottontail continued to go toward the east until he 
came to the edge of the ocean. He saw that Sun came up from the 
ocean and jumped up into a tree. 

Cottontail went to the tree, and stayed under it to watch for 
Sun. He looked around for wood that would not burn (presum- 
ably to make his arrows) . He was afraid that he would get burned 
and made a hole to hide in. Then he killed Sun with his bow and 
arrow, and jumped into his hole. When Sun fell to the earth, 
everything was burned. 


After awhile, Cottontail reached out and felt the ground. It was 
still hot. He said, "tcuwa, tcuwa" and went back into his hole. He 
stayed there a long time. 

When the ground was cool, Cottontail came out. He killed Sun, 
took its gall out, and threw it high up in the air. As Cottontail 
traveled home, people would tease him and say, "Look at Cotton- 
tail. He is a big man. He has killed Sun." They laughed at him. 
This made Cottontail so angry that he killed everyone he met. 

Cottontail walked for many days and finally arrived home in Sa- 
line Valley where his mother was waiting for him. They lived in a 
big brown rock which today is called "Cottontail's house." 

(Elko, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

At one time the sky was too low; it burned everything. The 
people would say "iidii iidii iidii, it is too hot." 

Cottontail said that he would kill Sun. He and Sand Rabbit 
walked toward the east. They went over mountains, mountains, 
mountains, mountains. Always the Sun came up over the next moun- 
tain to the east. They went over many mountains. Finally, they 
came to the big water and could go no farther. Here they stopped. 

Cottontail told Sand Rabbit to make a tunnel, to make the tunnel 
twist in every direction, to make it go down, and go this way and 
that way and up and down. Sand Rabbit did not listen to his brother 
and made the tunnel his own way. He made it straight. Cottontail 
made a tunnel that twisted in all directions. 

Cottontail and Sand Rabbit stayed in their holes all day. Sun 
came up but they did not come out. They stayed in their holes 
for 7, 8, or 9 days. 

Cottontail had many arrows that he was going to shoot at Sun. 
When Sun came over, he made ready to shoot. He shot at Sun 
and then jumped back in his hole. But the arrow burned up before 
reaching Sun. He had plenty of arrows and shot them all; 
but they all burned up and did not hit Sun. Then Cottontail took 
a roll of sage bark (i. e., slow match) that was about as long as from 
his fingertips to his elbow. He shot this at Sun. Sun fell down 
dead. When Sun came down there was a great conflagration. Every- 
thing caught fire and water boiled all over the earth. Cottontail had 
jumped back into his hole and kicked dirt behind him to keep out the 
fire. Just enough fire got to him to burn his neck, wrists, and ankles. 
Sand Rabbit had only dug down about 6 inches under the ground 
in his straight hole. He was roasted to death. 

Cottontail wished to make a new Sun. He cut out Sun's gall and 
tried to make a new Sun of it, but it had green spots on it, so 


he made the moon out of it. Then he took Sun's bladder and made 
a new Sun of it. It had two holes in it where he had shot through 
it, but he patched tliem up and made a fine, new Sun. Sand Rabbit 
lay dead while Cottontail made the new Sun. Sand Rabbit had 
burned to death. 

Cottontail pushed the sky up with his head and then threw the 
new Sun up to it. The sun was no longer too hot. 

The sun went west and Cottontail started west, too. He was 
lonesome. He was ashamed and kept his head down. 

After a while. Cottontail came to some people who had no mouths. 
They had a fire, and leaned their faces over it to inhale grease through 
their noses. Their noses were all black. Cottontail took a piece 
of flint and cut a mouth on one of them. After this, they all took 
flint and cut each other's mouth. They all began to talk. 

Cottontail left these people and went on alone toward the west. 
After a while, he heard someone yelling and shooting. There was 
snow. He made tracks in it under rose bushes. Then he made a 
long hole, about 300 feet long. One person said, "Here are Cotton- 
tail's tracks." Another one said, "There are his ears. I can see 
ihem sticlring up out of that hole." They all made fun of him. 
One said, "I am the best shot. Let me shoot him." They quarreled 
about who was to shoot him. Someone aimed at Cottontail, but 
as soon as he released the arrow, Cottontail jumped down his hole. 
They looked everywhere for him, but could not find him. 

Cottontail went on toward his home. His sister was there. When 
he arrived, he asked her for some of the paint that she used on her 
face. He wanted to paint his own face. He took the paint and 
made stripes around his eyes. Then he went into a house where 
there were some girls. He sat opposite the door. When the girls' 
brothers came home, they looked in the house and saw Cottontail 
with the paint on his face. They were afraid to come in, and said, 
"iinii iinii iinii iinii." Then the girls said, "Take that paint off your 
face and let our brothers come in. Wipe it off." 

The boys came in and pushed Cottontail around toward the door. 
He took the girls on his lap and held them. 

They all roasted cottontail rabbits in the fire, a big fire in the 
middle of the house. Each person had a cottontail rabbit. After 
the rabbits had cooked for a while, Cottontail took a piece of rye 
grass and shot it into his roasted rabbit's head. He dragged the 
rabbit out of the fire. The others shot, as Cottontail had done, and 
dragged their rabbits out. When Cottontail started to cut open his 
rabbit, he wished that all the fat on the other rabbits were on his 
own. When he cut open its belly, the fat was fine and thick. When 
the others cut their rabbits open, they were skinny without any fat. 


After this, all the people remained around the fire and sang until 
late in the evening. Then they all tried to go to sleep, but Cotton- 
tail sang, "Tu, tu, tu, tu, tu, tu," in a squeaky voice. The girls said, 
"You keep still and let our brothers go to sleep." 

The girls were lying by the door. The boys were lying on the 
other side of the house. When everyone was asleep, Cottontail tied 
the long braids of each boy to those of the boy next to him. Then 
he set fire to the house and carried out all the girls under one arm. 
The girls said, "You are no good. You have burned up our broth- 
ers." This made him angry, and he threw the girls into the fire. 

Cottontail came on from that place. He came along and along and 
along. He found an old woman making a basketry water jug. He 
said to her, "Mother, let me try that. Old Lady, let me try." He took 
the basket; then he gave it back to her; then he took it again. They 
exchanged it every few minutes. Cottontail wove the jug with the 
woman inside. He left her there. She died, and he went on his way. 

Cottontail was lonesome. As he traveled along, some people looked 
at him and laughed. They said, "Oh, look at Cottontail. He killed 
Sun. He is a funny little short fellow. He killed Sun !" Cottontail 
looked up and saw that there were some pretty women in the rocks 
above him. He went up toward the rocks, and the women said, 
"Cottontail is ugly. He is coming up here." They all ran into cracks 
in the rock. Cottontail was angry. He found some brush and put 
it in all the cracks. He set fire to it. The women called, "Cottontail" ; 
but none of them came out. Cottontail said to them, "You will be 
good to eat. You will be groundhogs. My people will eat you when 
you turn into groundhogs." 

Cottontail went on. He thought, "What am I doing? I have no 
friends. I am all alone." He kept on traveling and saw many snow 
birds (gaim). He killed 8 or 10 of them. After this he came to 
Coyote. Coyote said to him, "Where did you get the birds? I am 
hungry. I want some." Cottontail said, "I pulled out my hair here" 
(indicating his pubic hairs) "and tossed them out. They turned into 
birds and I got them. Do not try to get too many." Coyote pulled 
out a few hairs, and they turned into birds. He picked them up. 
Then he tried to get some more, but pulled out his guts and killed 

Cottontail went on. He walked slowly ; he was coming away, com- 
ing away, coming away, coming away. He found two girls digging 
roots (nap :). He made himself small, like a water baby, and walked 
toward them. He staggered. The girls said, "Look at this." They 
picked him up, and held him close in their arms, like a baby, to keep 
him warm. They fed him and were very good to him. That night 
they kept him between them to keep him warm. He felt at their 


breasts to try to get milk. He tried all night to nurse them. In the 
morning they cooked roots (nap:) for him, but it was too hard and 
he could not eat it. He wanted to nurse the girls; he wanted milk. 
He felt them again, but there was no milk. The next night Cottontail 
tried again to get milk from the girls, but they did not have any. 

The girls' camp was near a spring with a hill behind it. In the 
morning Cottontail said, "Where is your digging stick? I want to 
dig some roots. Give me your big stick." The girls said, "It is too 
heavy for you." Cottontail said, "No." He dragged the big stick 
along; he was not strong. He fell over trying to drag it. He pulled 
the stick out of sight over the hill, and began to dig a ditch. He dug 
it all the way around the camp and then turned the ground [i. e., the 
entire camp] over and killed the girls. 

Cottontail came on toward the west. He came a long way. He 
was coming in this direction. He crossed a hill and met some men 
whose hair was all shaved off except on their pates ["like Chinamen"]. 
He said to them, "Friends. You are my friends." He did not stop 
with them, because he thought that he must be good to them. He 
went on past these men and did not harm or kill them. 

Cottontail continued to come west. He came to where there were 
Rattlesnakes. He saw them, but went on past. Rattlesnakes tried to 
shoot him. Cottontail became angry and killed them. He roasted 
them in a fire, and said, "You will be rattlesnakes, out in the hills, but 
not in the valleys." -^ 

Cottontail went on and found two boys camped by a creek. The 
boys said, "Here is our brother coming." They called him a-qga- 
tasump: [a7/ga, "red," + tasump:, "a plant"], a flattering name. They 
said to him, "We are having a difficult time with this water here. It 
fights us. The wood fights us and drops on us. The willows make 
trouble for us." Cottontail said, "You try them again and I will 
see." The boys tried to get water, but it turned into ice. Cottontail 
shot it. They tried to get willow sugar (suhuviha), but the willows 
dropped on their heads. Cottontail remedied that. These boys were 
Hummingbirds. Cottontail said, "That is a good name they called me. 
It is the first time I have been spoken to pleasantly." -® 

Kai/gwusi gweak: (Wood rat's tail, pulled off). 

(Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

Coyote, Owl, and Wliippoorwill (To'ovego) were making the year. 
Coyote was fixing the length of winter. Coyote said, "It should 

" B. G. said that he had probably omitted one or two episodes in this portion of the story. 
2«B. G. regarded this as the Shoshoni classic, the one important myth that explained 
everything, the "Shoshoni bible." 

435G60— 43 19 


have as many months as the hairs on my back." Owl said, "No, it 
should have as many months as my feathers." "No, there are too 
many feathers and hairs," Whippoorwill said, "it should be 4 
months." He flew away singing, "Watsa mu'a (4 months)." 

Coyote became angry, and ran after Whippoorwill, but could not 
catch him. While Coyote was following Whippoorwill, he came to 
some red berries (puhupuhya). As he sat eating them, a rattlesnake 
bit him. He wanted to tell somebody that he had been bitten. He 
found a man, and told him to tell the people. The man went a 
short distance and came back. Next time he went farther and came 
back. He kept doing this until he finally got tired. Coyote died while 
the man was going back and forth. 


(Saline Valley, California. Shoshoui) 

Hawk (Tuhu^ni) and his sister-in-law, Snow Bird (Takandado'a), 
were the only people left in the world. Everyone had gone to Pana- 
mint Valley (Hauta) to gamble, but none of them had come back. 
All the animals — Coyote, Wildcat, Bear, Crow, and others — had gone 
and had been killed. 

Hawk lived alone. He asked his sister-in-law to come and live 
with him, but she refused. She would not go near his house. 

One day Hawk disappeared. V/hen he did not return Snow Bird 
went to look for him. She looked in his house and found that he 
had jumped out through the hole in the roof. She walked around 
and around looking for his tracks. When she found them, she began 
to follow him. She followed him a long way and finally caught up 
with him. 

"V\nien Snow Bird overtook Hawk, he said, "Wliy do you follow 
me? I am going over where I will be killed. You had better go 
back." She said, "No, I will go with you." Hawk asked her if 
she were brave. He asked her to sing. She began to cry, singing 
"Hovia, hovia, pasaqwai yumakan:". Hawk said, "Wliat power 
have you to protect you from danger?" She said, "You see that 
mountain with snow on it?" The snow was clear like ice. "That 
is my power. It will help me." Hawk said, pointing to a moun- 
tain, "That is tuhi! toyavi" (tuhu, "black," + toyavi, "mountain"), 
"That mountain is my power and will help me." 

She w^ent close to him, and they walked along together. He sang, 
"Tuhukini nuwu pasai yani pasai yani," and repeated it again and 
again." Snow Bird also sang her song. They went along toward 
the home of the Gambler singing their songs. 

^The tune is nearly identical with that in the Owens Valley Paiute versions. (See 
footnote 2, Steward, J. H., Myths of the Owens Valley Paiute, p. 438, 1936.) 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWARD 283 

The Gambler (Pano"waz') had killed all of Hawk's and Snow 
Bird's people. He lived with his many daughters and with two 
Gophers, who were Hawk's mothers-in-law. 

Late in the afternoon, Hawk and Snow Bird came near to the 
place of the Old Man, the Gambler. Gophers saw them coming 
when they were far off and started out to meet them. Gophers took 
them to their house. While traveling to the Gambler's place, some- 
one had warned Hawk and Snow Bird that the Old Man would 
offer them food, but that they should not take it, because it would 
be poisoned. All night Haw^k stayed awake, because the Old Man 
waited to kill him. The Gambler would say, "Is he asleep?" Hawk 
would hear him, and say, "No, I am not asleep." 

In the morning the Gambler's daughters began to grind acorns. 
They ground a great many acorns so that they could have mush. 
The old man said, "Grind them well, because we are going to have 
mush with Hawk meat for breakfast." 

Hawk and the Gambler began a kick-ball race.-^ They kicked 
their balls around a long course. Gambler took the lead and re- 
mained ahead. The two old women. Gophers, were going to help 
Hawk. They made holes in the course, so that the Gambler stumbled 
and fell in them. Meanwhile, Hawk had made one of his eggs into 
a ball, and used it instead of the one given him by the Gambler. 
The Gambler did not see him exchange the balls. With the help 
of Gophers, Hawk beat the Gambler. 

Near the goal they had built a big fire in which to burn the loser. 
When the Gambler was beaten, he said, "You have beaten me. Take 
my money and everything I have." Hawk said, "No, I did not agree 
to that." He wanted to kill the Gambler and all his people. Hawk 
said to the Gambler, "Sharpen your knife well and kill your people." 
The Gambler was rubbing the dull edge of his knife on their throats, 
saying, "Hwi, hwi," in a squeaky voice. Then Hawk took the knife 
from him and killed the old man and his daughters. 

During the race. Snow Bird had been sitting close to the fire. After 
the Gambler and his people were killed, Gophers went to Snow Bird 
to carry her away, but she had grown roots so that if the Gambler had 
won the race and had attempted to throw her into the fire, he would 
have fallen in, instead. The old women continued to lift, and after 
a while, pulled up Snow Bird, roots and all. 

Hawk saw all his own people piled up. They were dead and Coyote 
was among them. They had lost their arms, legs, heads, or other parts 
of their bodies. Coyote said, "Make a leg for me right away, before 
you fix anybod}^ else." Hawk restored all tlie people. 

28 This is the only record of this game. Infoi'mants denied that these Shoshoni had ever 
played it. 



(Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

At one time the world was filled with water. Only the Inyo moun- 
tains were left above it. All the people went to the summit of these 
mountains. (Probably New York Butte.) The water ran off toward 
the south. 

(Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

Rat (Kawa) had a home on the top of a mountain,-^ where he was 
building a dance corral. Wlien he finished the corral, he went out to 
hunt Mountain Sheep. 

Rat stood on a mountain, calling in his own language, "Nikadawa 
piwiavi, nikadawa piwiavi," inviting the Mountain Sheep to come join 
his circle dance and have a big feast. The Mountain Sheep answered 
"Hoho" °." That night the Sheep came to his dance. When they 
arrived. Rat began to sing his circle dance song in a monotone : 

Ka- wa ad- a tsu - na (I am rat), ka-wa ad- a tsu -na, 

p r p r p r _ prprpfm 

hu' wi' wi - a, hu' wi' wi - a. 

r r p f ^ ' f r p r' 

He picked out the largest of the Moutain Sheep and said to him, 
"You are my friend. I want to dance close to you." Then he said to 
all the Mountain Sheep, "Carry your babies with you on your backs 
while you are dancing." He told them all to shut their eyes while 
they were dancing. Rat sang his dance song and they danced all night. 
"Wlien it was nearly morning, while the people had their eyes shut. 
Rat stabbed the big Mountain Sheep that was dancing next to him. 
He killed him. Then Rat shouted, "Wlio killed that man ? It must 
have been a Wavitc."^*^ The people opened their eyes and looked 
around. They all began to cry. Rat leaned his head on his hand and 
said, (crying in a falsetto) "Tana ho nano ho' budi." Then Rat said 
to the people, "Well, you people can go home now. I'll put this man 
into a fire and burn him up. After that, I will go home." 

The Mountain Sheep went home. When they were gone, Rat, who 
was left alone, skinned Mountain Sheep and dried all the meat. 

When Rat had eaten all his meat, he went out again and called the 
Mountain Sheep as before. Again they answered and came down to 

^ Tucki Mountain, southwest of Bungalow City, according to W. P. 
80 Tije Indians to the south of the Shoshoni ; Wavitc= "tough." 


his dance that night. He told the biggest one to dance close to him 
and the others to dance with their babies on their backs and their eyes 
closed. But this time the Mountain Sheep said, "It is probably Rat 
who is doing this. Tell the children to watch him while we dance." 
The children watched Rat while they danced and saw him stab the 
Mountain Sheep next to him. Then Rat ran for his bow and said, 
""Where is the Wavitc who is doing this stabbing?" After the people 
had left, Rat cooked the Mountain Sheep he had stabbed. 

Wlien Rat had no more meat, he went into the mountains and called 
the Mountain Sheep as before. They answered and came down to his 
dance. Again he asked the biggest one to dance beside him and told 
the others to carry their babies and keep their eyes closed. But while 
they were dancing, the Mountain Sheep next to Rat stabbed him in the 
belly. Rat ran away and the people ran after him. They looked for 
him in his hole but could not find him. While they were looking, they 
found Mountain Sheep meat that he had dried. 

(Saline Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

Cottontail lived with the people on the side of Olancha Peak. The 
people had no wind ; there was none in the whole valley. They could 
hear it up on the top of the mountain, but it never came down. 

Cottontail said, "I can bring the wind down the valley." He took 
a flute and went way up on the mountain side, blowing it "tu hu du du 
du du, mi ah" and singing "tavotsikita wo bit hai yuvii" (in effect, 
"I am Cottontail"). 31 

By means of his flute playing and his singing. Cottontail brought 
the wind down to the people in the valley. 


(Death Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

Many people had houses at a camp where they were hunting deer 
and all kinds of animals. All the animals were people at that time. 
There were Eagle, Bullet Hawk (Kini"), Red Tail Hawk (kwiyo'°), 
Crow, Coyote, and all kinds of birds and animals. 

The people were hunting deer. Each night they brought home 
meat. "W^ien they brought it home they saw that a small kind of 
fly (Paku'wund)^^ stole it. They went hunting again and brought 
home a whole, unbutchered deer. Pakiiwund came back. He flew 
along, lit on the the deer, and flew away with the whole thing. The 

« Tbe tune is approximately that of Cottontairs song in "Coyote and Cottontail," by 
T. S. (See footnote 2, Steward, J. H., Mytbs of the Owens VaUey Paiute, p. 437, 1936.) 
*" "Something like a small animal." 


next morning they went hunting again. When they came home, they 
tied two deer together by their legs and laid them side by side. 
Pakuwund returned, lit on the deer and carried both of them away. 
The people went hunting again the following morning. That night 
they tied three deer together by their legs. Again Pakuwund came, 
lit on them, then carried away all three. 

Coyote spoke. He said, "Some of you had better watch that thing 
and see where it goes." Hawk (tuhun:) started to follow it. He 
walked over the hill and when he was out of sight pursued Pakuwund. 
He saw him go toward the South and f ollov\ed him to some clay hills. 
Pakiiwund went into a liill. Havv'k knew then where his home was. 
He started back home. He lit on the other side of the hill from his 
people's camp, so that they would not see him, and walked into the 
village. He told them that he had foUov/ed Pakiiwund into the clay 
hills. The people said, "That is all right." 

Coyote, who was chief, started to talk. He said, "We'll see about 
this in the morning." In the morning, all the people went south to the 
clay hills. They stopped there. There was a little hole in the top of 
the hill. The Pakiiwund was inside, but the people were not sure 
of this. They decided to smoke him. out and began to gather wood. 
They built a fire and blew the smoke to drive it into his house. They 
did this all da}^ Coyote said, "Let me try." He blew, ran out of 
breath, and fell down the hill. After a while he blew again, ran out 
of breath, and fell down the hill. He did this again and again. 
After this the people began to dig. They thought they had killed 
Pakuwund. When they had dug deep enough, they reached in to 
their deer meat and began to pull it out. Some of them said, "We 
had better leave it alone. He might not be dead. He might come 
and kill us." They came back from the place and left Coyote there 

Coyote said, "I shall go in and see him myself." Coyote started 
to dig. He reached in to the house and found that Pakiiwund's 
children were all dead. Pakiiwund came out carrying a stone pestle 
(paku'u) in his hand. He came out to where Coyote had reached 
mto the hole. Coyote jumped to the top of the hill, where they had 
started to dig. Pakiiwund jumped after Coyote and struck at him, 
but Coyote dodged and he missed. Pakiiwund swung again, and 
Coyote said, "I am not going to dodge the same way every time. I 
will jump the other way." Pakiiwund knocked Coyote down and 
killed him. He chased the other people. First he caught Lizards and 
Snakes and the others that were running slowly. He killed them. He 
killed each of them as he came along. The birds were faster, but 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWARD 287 

he caught and killed them. He killed Crow, Panzaya [some kind of 
hawk that catches ducks] and Kwiyo'° (?). Then he killed Eagle. 
There were only two persons left. They said, "We had better 
go faster to our house." Pakiiwund chased them. Hawk (Kini'') 
said, "I cannot go much farther. I am tired." Pakiiwund killed 
him. There was only one person left, also Hawk (Tuhun:). He 
started to sing. He was on the other side of the Sierra Nevada 
mountains, vrest of Lone Pine. He said, "I am going to where my 
pond is." He headed for the water, darted into it, and then out again. 
Pakiiwund did the same thing, close behind him. Hawk made a 
turn, dove into the water again and came out. Pakiiwund dove in 
after him and out close behind him. Hawk said, "I am going to 
my house." He started toward his house, which was in a rock. This 
rock was Mt. Whitne3^ He went through his house and out the 
other side. When Pakiiwund could not get through the rock, he 
struck it with his pestle, broke it, and continued to follow Hawk. 
Hawk made a turn, then pulled a short feather from the upper part 
of his wing, near his shoulder. Ho put it in front of his house, then 
passed through and looked back. He could not see Pakiiwund, who 
had been caught between the feather and the rock. 

Hawk went up on top of Mt. "Wliitney and spread his wings to 
rest. He was very tired. 

Hawk had sung his song while Pakiiwund was chasing him. 

(Death Valley, California. Shoshoni) 

Many people had camps vv'here they were hunting mountain 
sheep. Their chief went ahead and made fires (when they hunted). 

There were two brothers in the sky (tugumbi, "'sky"; duwitc, 
"boys"). They traveled along shooting arrows in competition with 
someone.^^ Doing this, the brothers lost all their arrows. 

The brothers went to the camp of the sheep hunters; they went to 
the fire. When they arrived they had no arrows because they had 
lost them all. The people gave one arrow to each of the brothers, 
and said, "Wlien you see a mountain sheep, the older of you must 
shoot it," All the people went hunting. The brothers went along 
together. They saw a sheep. The younger said, "I had better shoot 
him." The older one said, "No." The younger disagreed with him, 
and they argued. Finally, the older one yielded and said, "All 
right, shoot." The younger brother shot at the sheep, but did not hit 

33 They threw a bunch of willows alipad, over a bush where they could not see it, and 
shot to try to strike nearest to it. 


it squarely, and tlie sheep ran away. Wlien the people had given 
them the arrows they had said, "If you do not kill the sheep, do not 
chase it. You might get into trouble." The brothers argued. The 
younger said, "We had better track it." The older said, "They told 
us not to do that because we might get into trouble." The younger 
had his way, and they started to track the sheep. They followed its 
tracks. They came to a pool of water that was near somebody's 
house. The brothers went to the pool and took a hath. While they 
were bathing, they saw a sunshade built near the spring. After 
their bath, they went to the shade where some people lived. This 
was Snake's home. Snake said to them, "Tell me who you are." 
The brothers did not want to tell him. They said, "We heard that 
our grandfather lived here," though they really had no grand- 
father.^* Snake said, "Wliat are you two doing in this place?" The 
brothers said, "We have killed a sheep near here." Snake said, "All 
right, but you two must go back at once." Snake had two wives. 
He said, "If you don't go back right away, my wives will kill you." 

Snake's wives were gatliering berries (hu:pi). One of them 
began to sing. . . . She said, "I believe someone has come to our 
house." The other said, "You had better go on with your work." 
The first went on singing and said, "I tell you, someone has come to 
our house." She stopped picking berries and stood still. 

Snake said to the brothers, "'Wliere did you boys kill the sheep?" 
They said, "We killed it right there," and showed him the place. 
Snake said, "You must get a stick and throw me to where the sheep 
is. I will get it." They threw Snake wdth a stick and he landed 
by the sheep. Snake brought back the sheep. The boys went away. 
While Snake was carrying back the sheep, he covered up the boys' 
tracks so that the women would not see them when they came home. 
The boys went away to the sky. They sat there. 

Snake used the mountain sheep's feet to cover up the tracks the 
brothers had made around the spring. Then he went to his house. 
The women were still gathering berries and one of them sang. After 
a while the other began to sing; they both sang. They said, 
"Someone came to our house." 

The women returned to the house. As they came near it. Snake 
had his head out of the house, looking toward the spring. The 
women knew that Snake was trying to deceive them. They said, 
"Someone gave him a sheep." Snake said to them, "Don't tallv loudly. 
Some mountain sheep are watering at our spring." The women 
said, "Someone else killed this sheep." The women went to the 

^^ But compare below. 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWARD 289 

water to bathe. They found a long hair in the water. It had become 
tangled around them. They compared the hair with their own and 
found that it was longer. They knew what had happened. They 
said, "Someone has come to our place." They sang . . . After their 
bath, the women walked around and around the spring to find the 
tracks of the person who had come. The brothers were above in the 
sky, watching them. The younger brother thought, "I hope one of 
them will look up and see us." The women looked up and saw the 
brothers sitting there. Then the women lay on their backs and sang. 
They said, "You had better come down." The younger brother said, 
"We must go down." The older said, "No, we will be killed." The 
two women had long knives. The brothers argued about it and at 
last the younger had his way. The older said, "You go down . . . 
and come back alive." The younger said, "I will go down . . ." He 
started down while the women watched him. When he came to them, 
they cut off his head. The older brother was very sorry when this 
happened, and said, "I, too, must go down and die." He went down 
and the women killed him. After they had killed the brothers, the 
women stayed there that night. 

The next morning the people at the sheep hunting camp were 
talking. Bat had had a dream and told them about it. He said, 
"I dreamed last night that there was blood on the sky." Bat was 
the boys' grandfather, and when he said that he cried. He knew the 
boys had been killed. 

That morning the women began to track the boys to see where 
they had come from. They followed the tracks to where they had 
shot the sheej), and then to where they had built a fire. They went 
on to the hunting camp. The people had their houses in a hollow. 
The women approached and looked at the camp from behind a ridge. 
Bat saw them looking toward the camp. When the women saw that 
Bat was looking at them, they went around the hill to another place 
and watched. Again they saw Bat looking toward them. Then they 
went around to another place. While they were doing this, they 
split juniper trees into small pieces with their knives. The pieces 
became people. They went toward the camp and the women accom- 
panied them. The hunters saw them coming. 

Coyote said, "Maybe they are going to have a fight with us. I am 
going to be out in front of everyone." He ran out in front of the 
hunters. The people came closer; Coyote was the first to have his 
head cut off. The people came on and cut off everyone's head. When 
they were through killing the hunters and were standing there, the 
women noticed that Bat was absent. They said, "Where is Bat, who 
was looking at us?" They searched for him among the dead people, 
and heard a noise like a mouse inside a mountain sheep carcass. They 


went to the sheep and found Bat hanging on the inside of the body. 
They took him out, and said, "This is our pet. We must take him 
home." Then they said, "Our husband might kill us. But our little 
Bat is pretty." They held him in their hands and made him fly. 
He flew around and lit on their heads. They said, "Our little pet is 
very good and pretty." They continued to do this. Bat flew around 
and lit on all parts of them. This made them angry and they tried 
to stab him with their knives but missed him. They continued to 
strike at him but stabbed themselves and died. 

Wlien the women were dead. Bat cut a piece out of each of them 
with a knife. He put both of the pieces around his neck like neck- 
laces and started out for Snake's house. When he came to Snake, 
Snake said, "I know that you are wearing pieces of my wives." 
Bat said, "No, I won these a long time ago w^hen I made a trip to 
the north. You were small at that time. You were in that cradle 
and I rocked you." Snake said, "No." He was angry and bit at 
a rock. Bat seized the shin bone of a deer and struck a rock with it. 
It made a red flash. He said, "I will do this to you, too." Snake 
became angrier. He was coiling, drawing himself higher and higher. 
Bat picked up a pebble and he flipped it into the air with his fingers. 
The pebble went high and as it fell became larger and larger. It 
fell on Snake's head and killed him. 

Bat went back to where his dead grandsons were. He put a stick 
under one of them and threw him into the air. He came back to life. 
He did the same to the other boy, and he returned to life. He 
went back to his hunting camp and did the same to all the people 
who had been killed. They all came back to life. He did not do 
this to Coyote. Some people said, "We won't bother about Coyote. 
He always gets into trouble. We won't bring him back to life." 
But others said, "He is smart. He might tell us something." They 
threw Coyote up into the air with a stick and he came back to life. 
Coyote arose and said, "I have been sleeping." 

(Big Smoky Valley, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

Wolf said, "When people die, they must die twice." Coyote said 
"That isn't right. I don't want people to die twice. They must die 
once and be buried." 

Wolf bewitched Coyote's boy and wished that he would die. 
Coyote knew that he had done this. The boy died. Coyote went 
to Wolf crying. He said, "Oh, brother, you said when people died 
they should get up and die again. When will my boy get up?" 
Wolf said, "Don't you remember saying they should die only once?" 


(Big Smoky Valley, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

Coyote hunted rabbits with the Indians. Coyote's brother, Wolf, 
had a wife. Coyote and Wolf hunted. When they returned home 
they found mush in baskets for them. Wolf's wife had left it for 
them, but Coyote could not see her. Coyote said, ""What is the 
matter? Where is my brother's wife?" 

Wolf had a rabbit skin blanket. He slept under it. Coyote said, 
"Why does my brother leave that blanket there?" One day when 
Wolf and Coyote were hunting, Coyote sneaked back to the camp 
and saw a big Frog, Wolf's wife, under the blanket. It was she 
who had made the mush. Coyote said, "Oh, my, look what my brother 
has !" He killed her with a stick. 

He went back to hunt. Wlien Coyote and Wolf returned to camp, 
they found no mush in their baskets because Coyote had killed Wolf's 
wife. Coj^ote said, "Oh, what are we going to eat, brother?" 

Wolf and Coyote went hunting again. Wolf said, "We are going 
to move some place. Take everything. We will go to a place with 
water." They moved camp to a place where there was water. 
Coyote and Wolf hunted. When they returned home they found 
mush in baskets. Wolf's wife had made it, but Coyote could see 
no woman. Coyote said, "What is the matter with my brother, 
talking to himself." Coyote sneaked back after they had started 
to hunt one day and saw the woman in the house. The woman 
went around the house and threw everything on top of it. Coyote 
said, "She is a pretty woman. I am going to catch her. She is 
my brother's wife." He seized her. There were tiny red ants 
[evidently the wife or wives] going around the house. Coyote 
pinched them with his fingers and killed them. 

Coyote went back to hunt with Wolf. When they returned to 
camp they found no food. All the women had been killed. Coyote 
cried because he was hungry. He said, "Oh, what are we going to 
eat, brother?" 

(Lida, Nevada. Shoshoni) 

Badger lived alone in his camp. He had lived there a long time. 
On a hill close by his home were some rocks. In these rocks were 

the houses of many Woodchucks (Yaha).^^ 

^ J. S. explained that these Taha were like rats or mice, but that he had never seen any 
of them. Actually Yaha are woodchucks and, though an important food farther north, 
are unknown in this region. 



[Bdll. 136 

Badger thought, "These must be very good to eat. I am going 
to try them." He sharpened a big stick on both edges; he had some 
kind of knife. Then he chmed up to the Yaha holes in the rocks. 
He found a flat place below the entrance to the houses and lay down 
there with his stick close beside him. He thouglit, "I will sing a 
song and pretend I am singing in my sleep." He started singing : 


-9 ^ s" — 

ni kwa diim 

Ni hi ni kwa diim 
(Heron's or craue's kuee) 




—9 * ^ C5- 

a a to na pi 

(backbone ribs) 

— C! 


we SI ma ni 
(toes spread out) 


He sang this song two or three times. Then he sat up and looked 
up to the rocks where the Woodchucks had their homes. A few had 
come out to look when he started singing. He thought "Maybe 
more will come out." He lay down again and continued singing. 
He thought, "I'll sing once more. Then I'll look again," 

He sang the song twice more and then cautiously looked up. Many 
Woodchucks had come out to listen to him. They said, "Wlio is 
that singing? We will go down and see who is singing." Badger 
lay still with his head on the ground, and continued to sing. The 
Woodchucks said, "He has a very short tail." "What is that sing- 
ing?" "His legs are very short, too.'^' "Come and see what this is!" 

Finally, many had come down to see Badger. Badger kept singing 
all the time. He didn't move at all. He kept his head down on the 
ground. He kept on singing. He held his stick down with his 
hand. The Woodchucks called up to those who remained on the 
rocks, "Come down and see what this is!" "He has very short 
ears." "It is hard to see his eyes. They are very small. He has a 
white spot on his nose." Badger continued singing all the time. 

When all the Woodchucks were around him, watching him, Badger 
thought, "Now I have enough. I will knock them down with my 
stick." He jumped up quickly and began knocking the Woodchucks 
on the head with his sharp stick. He killed many of them. Only a 
few escaped, and ran back to their homes in the rocks. Badger 
thought, "I have plenty. I have enough." 

He carried them on his back down to his camp and skinned them. 
They were very fat and good to eat. He dried the meat and made 
jerky of it. While he was skinning them he thought, "I have a lot of 
meat. These will be good to eat when they are dry." 31] WESTERN" SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWARD 293 

Wlien his meat was nearly all used up, Coyote came to see Badger. 
Badger had just made a stew of his meat. When it was cooked he gave 
Co3^ote some. Coyote said, "That is very good." He ate more; it 
tasted good. Coyote asked Badger, "Wliat kind of meat is in that 
stew?" Badger answered, "That is not meat. I just pick them out of 
the rocks. They have a place up there. That is where I get them." 
Coyote said, "I am going to try to get some. How do you do it? Do 
you shoot them, or what?" Badger explained, "You just knock them 
down with a stick." Coyote said, "I'll bet I can catch more than you 
did. What kind of stick did you use?" Badger said, "Any kind of 
stick will do. It doesn't matter." Coyote said, "I am going to try it 
myself. I am going to lie up there, too." 

Coyote made a stick for himself and then asked Badger, "Wliat do 
you say to them while you are lying there?" Badger told him, "I sang 
a song, that is all." Coyote asked, "What kind of song? Can you give 
me the same song?" Badger gave him the song and Coyote practiced 
it. His voice was deep and hoarse and ugly. After he had practiced 
until he knew it, he went up to the rocks He looked around for a place 
to lie. He saw the holes of the Woodchucks and what he thought was a 
good place near them. 

Coyote lay on his back. He started to sing Badger's song. It 
sounded bad. He only sang it once and then raised his head to look 
at the holes. There were no Woodchucks in sight. He sang once 
more and then looked again. No Woodchucks had come out. He 
thought, "I have been too impatient about looking up there." He 
sang the song two or three times and then looked. Some little Wood- 
chucks had come out in front of their holes. They looked down to 
where Coyote lay. They said to the others, "Come out and look at this. 
It is a long one." Some of them went down to see better. They 
said, "This is a long one. What is it? It has a long tail." They 
called to the others to come and look. More of the Woodchucks came 
down. Coyote had not stopped singing. They said, "He has a very 
sharp nose." "His ears are pretty long." More Woodchucks came out 
to look. Coyote thought, "I have plenty," but he wanted more to come 
down. He kept on singing. 

The Woodchucks said, "We will touch him with our hands to see 
how that fur feels." They gathered around Coyote and put their hands 
on him to feel the fur. This tickled Coyote and he began to laugh. 
He frightened the Woodchucks and they all ran away. Coyote 
jumped up, grasped his stick and tried to hit them, but he missed 
every one. They were too far away. He didn't get one. 

Coyote said, "I will try once more." He lay down again in the same 
place. He started to sing again. He sang the song twice and 
looked up. There was not one Woodchuck outside his hole. Coyote 


continued singing. He thought they would come out again. He 
sang the song five or six times, but no one came out to hear it. He 
thought he had better stop. 

He got up and went to Badger's phice. Badger saw that he had 
no meat. Coyote told Badger that the Woodchucks were too wild 
and had all gotten awaj^ Badger said, "Yes?" 

Coyote went home. 


(Ash Meadows, Nevada. Shoshoni.) 

One day Wolf said to his brother, Coyote. "I would like some seeds. 
I like them better than meat. Go to your aunt's place and get som.e for 
me." Coyote said, "We have no relatives." Wolf said, "Yes; we 
have. You go over there and see." 

Coyote went out to find the seeds and met two girl cousins, two 
bear cubs. They looked like twins. They were gathering seeds. 
Coyote talked to them for a little while. Then he choked both of 
them; they died.'^" He laid them side by side and covered them up 
with a rabbit-skin blanket. Then he started to gather seeds. 

About sundown. Coyote's aunt. Bear, came to where the girls were. 
She was carrying seeds. She said, "What are you doing there, sleep- 
ing at this time?" She walked over to them, and pushed and pinched 
them, trying to wake them up. When they didn't move she looked 
under the blanket and saw that they were dead. This made her angry. 
She ran to Coyote and clawed all the meat off his back with her fingers. 
Coyote howled, "Wheeeeee." Then he ran away. 

Coyote covered his back with a blanket and went home without 
his seeds. 

When he arrived at his home. Wolf asked for the seeds. Coyote 
said, "I did not see any." Wolf, who knew everything, said "Yes, 
you did. Why do you cover your back? I know you killed those 
girls and your aunt clawed you." Coyote admitted that this was so. 

Wolf wished Coyote asleep. He had this power. Wolf then went 
out hunting and killed a very small fawn. He cut the meat off 
its back in thin strips. It was very smooth and tender. When he got 
home. Coyote was still curled up asleep. Wolf slipped Coyote's 
blanket off and mended his back with the fawn's back muscles. He 
made it smooth, just like new. 

In the morning, Coyote stretched himself and felt his back. He 
said, "My back meat has returned. Last night it was gone and there 
were just bones back there, but now it has come back. It is fine 
and smooth !" 

^ M. S. intimated that the girls rebuffed Coyote's amorous advances, which caused him to 

Wolf said to Coyote, "Now you be good. You are always fooling 
me. Don't go back and bother your aunt. But, if you do, be sure 
to skin her and cut up all the meat and bring it home. Don't leave 
any of it." 

Coyote said he would not go back, but he went nevertheless. He 
met Bear and cut her throat. He skinned her and cut up all the 
meat and wrapped it in the skin, but he forgot a piece of tripe. On 
the way home he remembered the tripe, and what Wolf had said 
about bringing all the meat home, so he went back for it. The Tripe 
had moved to the north. Coyote chased it but could not catch it. 
He asked, "What are you doing?" Tripe said, "I am well now. I am 
going to tell my people Avhat you have done to my daughters." 
Coyote said, "Go ahead. I am glad." 

When Coyote returned to the camp with the meat, he told Wolf 
he had brought it all home. Wolf said, "No you didn't. You had 
better watch out. When you see your people, you will find out why." 
Coyote said, "There are no people here. What is the matter?" 
Wolf only said, "In a few days you will see." 

In a few days Wolf said to Coyote, "Stand away from the fire 
and look to the north." Coyote said, "Why should I? It is cold." 
But he looked, and in the north there was a crowd of people. They 
looked black in the distance. There was lightning. Finally Coyote 
said, "It looks like people coming closer. I can see arms and legs. 
You look. Wolf." Wolf would not look, but he said to Coyote, "You 
had better pack everything, and move away." Coyote said, "Why 
should I move?" 

Wolf went out to see the people coming. The men in the crowd 
shot Wolf and he died. Then they skinned him, and taking the skin 
with tliem they went back to the north. Coyote Avas afraid, but 
he followed tlieir tracks until he came to a big camp. The people 
had made things ready for a circle dance around a fire. 

Coyote didn't dare go into the camp, but stayed on the outside, 
watching them. An old woman came up to him there and said, 
"Maybe you are Coyote." Coyote said "What is this Coyote?" The 
old woman said, "He lives at Tin Mountain (i. e., Charleston Peak). 
Coyote said, "What is he, a bad Indian?" She said, "I think you 
must be Coyote." He said, "I come from the north, but my grand- 
father told me about Coyote's brother. Wolf, who lives on Tin Moun- 
tain. Have you ever heard of him?" The old woman said, "Yes, my 
son has killed Wolf. My people have Wolf's hide. At sundown we 
will dance all night." The old woman then told Coyote that during 
the dance she tended the children of the dancers. She gathered them 
all around her and covered them all up with Wolf's hide. She said 
that was why she was crying. She told him that during the night 


while the children slept she, too, could dance a little, but in the morning 
the children would cry, "Mama, mama, come and take care of me." 

When Coyote heard this, he had an idea. He killed the old woman. 
He beat her and beat her and broke all her bones. He then made a 
little opening in her skin and pulled all the bones out and made a 
sack. He climbed into this sack and looked just like the old woman. 
He took her stick and hobbled into the camp. The children all cried, 
"Grandma is coming." After sundown, the people all said, "Mama, 
look after the babies while we dance." 

While the people were dancing, Coyote quietly choked the children 
to death. He held their noses, and choked them. The people thought 
the children were asleep and they asked him to dance. Coyote said, 
"All right." Then he jumped out of the old woman's skin and put 
on Wolf's hide. He ran out of the house shouting, "I am the man 
you killed," and then fled from the camp. 

The people followed him, but he ran, ran, ran, ran, and finally 
came to a wooded mountain. Here the people lost the track and 
returned home. Coyote walked back to the place where Wolf had 
been killed. Wolf's carcass was all dried up and stiff like wood. 
Very carefully, he fitted Wolf's skin over the carcass. 

In the morning he w^ent out to look and saw that the nose had 
moved a little and was slightly wet. The next morning Coyote was 
awakened by hearing Wolf howl. He got up to look, but found that 
Wolf had gone to the northeast. Wolf was alive but he was very 

He left Tin Mountain and never came back. That is why there 
are no wolves or bears on Tin Mountain now. 


(Elko, Nevada, Shoshoni) 

Night Owl (Mumbitc) lived with his wife and boy who was 6 or 7 
years old. His wife, Takadoa,^^ carried the boy around on her back. 

Night Owl went hunting for rabbits. While he was stamping his 
feet in the snow, he stepped on a piece of bone that was sticking up and 
drove it into his foot. He came home and asked his wife to pull it 
out. She wanted to marry Skunk, so she pushed the bone in farther 
and Night Owl died. 

Takadoa went to Skunk's place and talked to his grandmother. She 
told her that she wanted to marry Skunk. The grandmother said that 
Skunk was strong, but was no good. She began to cry, Takadoa 
went away carrying her son. Skunk came home, and said to his grand- 
mother, "What are you crying about, Grandmother? Tell me what is 

*^ A black-headed bird that comes in the spring time. 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI IMYTHS STEWARD 297 

the matter." She said, "Oh, I am just crying because my son has 
died"; she referred to Owl. Skunk said, "How do you know that he 
died ? You must know something." He smelled her. He said, "You 
are too old to smell this way." He smelled all around and knew that 
somebody else's smell was there. Then he found a string that had be- 
longed to some stranger. Now he knew who had been there. He said, 
"Why didn't you tell me who was here?" 

Skunk started to follow the woman, Takadoa. He followed her 
tracks. The woman thought, "I wish a lot of roses would grow up so 
he can't get through." A lot of dry roses grew up and Skunk became 
stuck in them. Then Skunk looked up and saw an enormous alkali 
flat [i. e., playa] that had no end. Skunk let out his smell. It over- 
took the woman and her boy and killed both of them. 

Badger, Coyote. Hawk (Kini) , and their friends were camped on the 
other side of the flat. Badger restored Takadoa to life. She wanted 
to marry Hawk. She went to the camp and found that all the men 
were out hunting rabbits. Hawk's mother was alone. Takadoa saw 
only one bed in her house, but there were many rabbits there. After a 
while, Coyote came back with four rabbits. He gave them to Taka- 
doa and her boy, but Takadoa would not marry him. She wanted 
Hawk, but could not find him. Hawk was staying in a round hole up 
in the rocks. 

Every evening someone brought a great many rabbits to Hawk's 
mother's house. Takadoa said, "Who brought all these rabbits?" 
Hawk's mother said, "My boy brings them." Takadoa looked all 
around and in the bed for Hawk. Hawk's mother said, "What do you 
want? Do you want my boy? After I die you want to marry him? 
No, you might make him trouble. You would scare him so that he 
could not hunt rabbits any more." 

That night, after every one was asleep, Takadoa went to Hawk's 
place in the rocks to sleep with him. She went in the middle of the 
night. No one knew that she was going. When she arrived, she got 
in bed with him and called, "Kinini, kinini, kinini." When Hawk 
woke up and found somebody in bed with him he was frightened. 

In the morning Hawk got up and sat on a rock with his feathers all 
ruffled. He looked funny. He went hunting for rabbits but only got 
one. His luck was spoiled. He had been the best of all hunters, but 
after being frightened by the woman, he was no good. 

Kangwasi gweak: (Woodrat's tail, pulled off). 

(Winnemucca, Nevada. Northern Paiute) 

Wolf was our father. Coyote was Wolf's brother. Their home 
was in a cave south of Humboldt City. It is called "Wolf's house." 

435660—43 20 


Wolf had a hole [probably cave] in which he kept deer, sheep, 
buffalo, and antelope. 

Wlien Coyote went hunting he never found any game, but Wolf 
brought game home every time he went out. Coyote asked Wolf, 
''Where do you get game so quickly? Every day I look in the moun- 
tains but I do not even see tracks. Tell me, brother. Tell me how 
you get game so quickly." Coyote begged, begged, begged. Wolf 
said, "I keep the animals in a hole." "All right," Coyote said, "I 
will go and catch some." Wolf said, "Kill only one and then shut 
the hole up well." Coyote said, "I will." 

Coyote went to the hole. But instead of doing as his brother had 
told him, he threw the door of the hole open and the deer, buffalo, 
elk, and others ran out. They ran, ran, ran. Coyote shot, shot, shot 
at them, but they ran past him. He could not kill any. The last 
animal to come out was a little fawn. Coyote killed that one. 

Wolf looked out from his house and saw dust all over the moun- 
tains. All the game was gone. He knew that Coyote had let them 
escape. Coyote came back bringing his small deer. Wolf was very 
angry and lay down. He would not speak. Coyote said, "Brother, 
I have tender meat for you." Wolf would not speak. 

Another tribe that lived in the north saw the dust in the hills and 
went after the animals. Wolf sent Coyote to get cane to make 
arrows. Wolf made the arrows very quickly. When they were 
finished, he put Coyote in the house and said, "I am going to fight 
[these people] alone. Don't look out of the house until I return." 
Wolf fought alone. He had told Coyote not to look out. Coyote 
did as he was told and waited. But after a while he looked out and 
Wolf was killed. The people from the north took Wolf's hide 
with his scalp inside it and went back toward the nortli. Coyote 
followed them. He saw where the people had put Wolf's scalp on 
a stick in the middle of their dance ground. 

Finally, Coyote went over to the people. He cried when he saw 
his brother on the pole. He told the people, "The smoke from the 
fire follows me around and makes me cry." He told them that they 
should dance for 5 nights without sleeping. The people said, "All 
right." They did not sleep day or night [during this time]. When 
everybody slept after the dance, Coyote took Wolf's hide and returned 
home. No one followed him because everyone was asleep. 

On his way home. Coyote buried the hide in damp ground [each 
night when he camped]. On the third night he heard someone 
speaking. The voice said, "Coyote, make a fire." Coyote looked 
around but could see no one. He [went on and] camped again. In 
the morning he heard the voice say, "Coyote, make a fire." Coyote 
said, "My brother, my brother!" But he saw no one. Wlien he was 31] WESTERN SHOSHONI MYTHS — STEWARD 299 

near home he heard the voice say, "Coyote, make a fire." Coyote 
said, "Brother, brother, brother." He caught Wolf's soul and 
brought it back. Wolf came back to life again. 


(Winnemucea, Nevada. Northern Paiute) 

Coyote and Wolf went to the north to fight. Many people went 
with them. Coyote had been to the Snake River alone [before this] . 
He gathered the people and went back there. Ice had formed ahead 
of them, and it reached all the way to the sky. The people could 
not cross it. It was too thick to break. A Raven flew up and struck 
the ice and cracked it [when he came down]. Coyote said, "These 
small people can't get across the ice." Another Raven flew up and 
cracked the ice again. Coyote said, "Try again, try again." Raven 
flew up again and broke the ice. The people ran across [or through?]. 
They ran across. Coyote was the last person over. 


Bureau of American Ethnology 

Bulletin 136 

Anthropological Papers, No. 32 

New Material From Acoma 





Supplementary data on Acoma 305 

Priests and officers 305 

Kacalt (Kacale or Koshare) 307 

Quiraina 307 

Opi and the scalps 308 

Caiyai'k'" (Hunters' Society) 308 

K'aBi''na tc'aia"'nyi 309 

"Trapping" 309 

Katsina 309 

Symbolism in masks 311 

Masked dances 312 

The G'o'maiyawaci 312 

Santiago and Tcapiy6 313 

Clan ceremonies 313 

Land tenure: the communal farm 315 

Ritual corn grinding 316 

Kick-stick race 317 

Birth 318 

Twins - 319 

Naming 319 

Ceremonial adoption 319 

Adoption by curing 319 

Behavior of relatives 320 

Reception of a foreign spouse 321 

Death and burial 322 

All Souls' Day 322 

Prayer sticks 323 

Various names and terms 323 

Color-directions 324 

Men-women 324 

Autobiography of an Acoma Indian 326 

Introduction 326 

Autobiography 327 

My initiation into Kacale 334 

A hunting trip 335 

Two Acoma tales 338 

Basityamuti (Bushy Hair Youth) 338 

Variant 345 

Masewi, Oyoyewi, and the K'o'o'k'" 351 

Acoma names of birds 354 

Acoma names of animals 356 

Miscellaneous Acoma names 357 

BibUography 358 






29. Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico; a street view 360 

30. Katzimo, or the Enchanted Mesa, as seen from Acoma 360 

31. Another view of the Rock of Katzimo, or the Enchanted Mesa, New 

Mexico 360 

32. The lower end of the horse trail, Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico 360 

. He'-mic katsina 311 


By Leslie A. White 


The following data were obtained after the publication of The 
Acoma Indians in 1932. I am greatly obliged to the late Dr. Elsie 
Clews Parsons, who read the entire manuscript and made many 
helpful suggestions; a number of the footnotes are hers. The new 
material here presented is arranged topically. Diacritical marks are 
noted only in the first use of a term or in terms quoted from published 


The cacique, in addition to being called ha'a'ctitcani (ha'a'cti 
means pueblo), may be called ti'amyn^i ^ because "he is supposed to 
know all about what was done at Shipapu." The cacique "has power 
[authority] over the tcaianyi (medicine men) and the kiva chiefs. 
He is the head of the katsina. But he has nothing to do with the 
Kacalt (Koshare) or the Opi (Warriors' society)." 

Tcrai'h''ats^ ^. — "A long time ago there used to be four tcraikatsi 
at Acoma, but they did not keep it up. Finally there were only 
two. The last one died about 50 years ago; then they let it drop." 
Apparently one of the tcraikatsi was the head of the group. They 
served for life. "The tcraikatsi had more power than the cacique," 

^ In Sia mythology Utset designated a man to be ti'iimoni ; he was to take her place on 
the southward migration (Stevenson, 1894, p. 40). The cacique at Sia and at Santo 
Domingo is called ti'amoni (Stevenson, 1894, p. 16; White, ms., The Tueblo of Sia; White, 
1935, p. 35). At Laguna the cacique is called Tyi'amunn because he led the people from the 
place of emergence (Boas, 1928, pt. 1, p. 288). 

2 At Santo Domingo (1931) the cacique's helper is called uictcek'a (bow) or tcraikatsi 
(White, 1935, p. 37). At Sia the cacique has three helpers called tcraikatsi (White, ms., 
The Pueblo of Sia). At Santa Ana the cacique himself is called tcraikatsi (White, ms., 
The Pueblo of Santa Ana). At Laguna "the hunt is in charge of Caiyai'k"-', Tcai'k'ats'"', and 
Trai'k'ats'*. They are not shamans but representatives of beings of the same name in the 
lower world who are the protectors of game. . . . The Tcai'k'ats'*' helped the cacique in 
his preparation for the ceremonial rabbit hunt" (Boas, 1928, pt. 1, pp. 296, 297). At 
Cochiti, "the officers of the Cikame society [identical in membership with the Hunting 
society] are called by the same name as the supernaturals in charge of the hunt (caiak, 
djaikatse, dreikatse)" (Goldfrank, 1927, p. 46). Compare Dumarest, 1919, p. 197. At 
Acoma, the ten "little chiefs" are sometimes called tcaikats' (White, 1932, p. 51). Ban- 
delier states that the Keresan cacique has two assistants, one called Uisht-Yakka, the other 
Shay-katze (Bandelier, 1890, p. 278). 



This means, I assume, that the tcraikatsi had (or was able to wield) 
more supernatural power than the cacique. "He was the head of the 
war chiefs, too." 

"Long ago at Acoma the tcraikatsi had four underground chambers 
underneath the cacique's house. He [i. e., the head of the tcraikatsi] 
had an altar in one of these rooms. No one was allowed to go in 
these rooms, not even the cacique, except the tcraikatsi." 

The tcraikatsi "worked" [supernaturally] for the good of the 
whole pueblo. Their chief function seems to have been increasing 
the food supply. The informant spoke, for the most part, of their 
"working" for wild plants and for game, but he said that they 
worked for crops, too. "It was very hard work." 

Each year the tcraikatsi would select a few wild plant foods and 
game animals upon which they would concentrate their efforts to 
bring forth an abundance. They would alter the list of plants and 
animals somewhat from year to year. Before a hunt the tcraikatsi 
would "take a bowl of deer, rabbits, and quail — all made of corn 
husk, like paper dolls — out of the pueblo, early in the morning. 
They would scatter these husks. That would make lots of game 
for the hunters." 

Inasmuch as the office of tcraikatsi became extinct at Acoma only 
50 years or so ago,^ the following account of how one came to be 
tcraikatsi might be expected to be more satisfactory. It was se- 
cured from a man over 70 years old. 

"Wlien someone was to be made tcraikatsi, the head would ask 
the people who they wanted. He would ask the cacique first, then 
he would ask the war chief, then the medicine men, and then the 
kiva chiefs. After they had all expressed themselves [and, it seems, 
they merely said "yes" or "no" with respect to the individual who 
had been named originally by the head tcraikatsi] * the head tcrai- 
katsi would call a meeting of all the people in Mauharots (the "head 
estufa," or kiva). He would tell them that so-and-so had been 
chosen to be tcraikatsi, and ask them if they were willing to accept 
him. The people would say that it was all right. Anyone who was 
selected for tcraikatsi hod to take it.'''' ® 

' It is of great interest to students of mythology that no reference to this Important office 
is made in the Origin Myth of Acoma. With the lapse of the office, the tradition authenticat- 
ing it also lapsed. 

* At Sia, after the ti'ftmoni has decided, In consultation with the war priest, upon the 
men for offices in the yearly "elections," he asks the "theurgists of the secret cult societies" 
for their concurrence. "This is always given, the consultation with the theurgists being 
but a matter of courtesy" (Stevenson, 1894, p. 18). 

Recent data from Santa Ana also indicate that this is the customary method of appoint- 
ing (or "electing") officers among the Keres (White, 1942 a, pp. 109-114). 

* The informant seemed to feel sure of the tr oj/ in which a candidate was presented for 
acceptance. But he was vague and indecisive about how this candidate was selected. At 
one time he said that when the head tcrailiatsi died, the helper who had been tcraiivatsi 
longest took his place. At another time he said that a tcraikatsi might be succeeded by his 
sister's son. 


Kiva chiefs.^ — There are four officers, called sicti G'ai'ya, in each 
kiva. They are appointed by the cacique and serve for life. They 
are officers in the katsina organization ; they paint and refurbish the 
masks ("Wliite, 1932, p. 71). 


By one informant I was told that there are no more real Kacale; 
men merely "act like Kacale" on occasion. Another informant said 
that there were "only a very few" real Kacale left. At any rate, 
it is necessary to have men act like Kacale on such occasions as a 
katsina dance or the scalp dance. Kacale pro tem are secured for 
this purpose in this way: The war chief takes tobacco to the head 
of Hictianyi (Flint) tcaianyi with the request to recruit men for 
Kacale. Hictianyi nawai, in turn, gives the tobacco to a Shiwana 
tcaianjd with the same request. The latter goes through the pueblo, 
selecting men to whom he offers a smoke. If the man accepts the 
smoke, Shiwana tcaianyi ^ tells him to report to the house of Hic- 
tianyi tcaianyi at a specified time to practice. The man is obliged 
to act like Kacale in the forthcoming ceremony.^ 


Among eastern Keres there are two complementary secret so- 
cieties, the Koshare and the Quiraina. At Acoma, the Koshare were 
present, but the Quiraina, as a society^ were absent (see White, 1932, 
p. 71, especially ftn. 57; also p. 75). Instead, all persons who had 
been initiated into the katsina organization were called G'uiraina 
tcaianyi.® Thus, one feature, which appears to be an integral part 
of Keresan culture at Santo Domingo, San Felipe, etc., seems to 
have been lacking at Acoma. The fact that at Acoma the term 
"Quiraina" was applied to the katsina organization instead of to a 
small secret society seems to indicate an incomplete participation 
of Acoma with what one might call typically Keresan culture. Their 
use of the term "Quiraina" might seem to suggest that the word came 
to them from the East, and that they attached it to an already existing 
organization instead of forming one that would be homologous to 
the Quiraina societies of the eastern Keres. 

Subsequent information, however, seems to indicate that Acoma 
is not quite so anomalous and divergent as had been previously sup- 
posed. Although no formal and permanent society of Quiraina was 

'These correspond to the slctl nawai (head) of San Felipe (White, 1932 a, pp. 15-16), 
and Santo Domingo (White, 1935, pp. 48-49). 

' The term, if not the group. Is of comparatively recent use or development in Laguna 
and Acoma. — E. C. P. 

•Same practice at Santo Domingo (White, 1935, p. 53). 

" At Sia, the Quiraina society had charge of initiations into the Isatsina organization 
and of the masked dances (Stevenson, 1894, p. 116). 


ever organized at Acoma according to informants, there were occa- 
sions when a group of men dressed and acted like the Quiraina of 
the eastern Keres. To outward appearances, then, Acoma had the 
Quiraina society. But it was only appearance ;^° the actors merely 
"acted like" Quiraina; they had no "power." Any one who had 
taken part in the Kopictaiya ritual (White, 1932, pp. 86-88) was 
eligible to act like Quiraina." They were recruited for this service 
in a manner similar to that of recruiting Koshare pro tem (see above). 
These Quiraina never attended the shiwana when they came to dance 
at Acoma (i. e., they took no part in the masked dances). 


In the old days, the Opi (Warriors' society) took care of the 
scalps. They used to feed them matsi'n^i (wafer bread) dipped 
in stew of rabbit or deer meat, and give them water to drink. The 
last of the Opi took the scalps "out somewhere" and buried them.^^ 
If they had not done this "the scalps would have become hungry 
and thirsty" since there would have been no one to tend them. As 
a consequence, siclniess would visit the pueblo and plagues of grass- 
hoppers would devour the crops. 

"They used to always want to have a scalp dance in the old days 
because it was an occasion of rejoicing." " 


Members of this society, like the curing societies, received their 
power from supernatural animals : the curing societies received their 
power from the animal doctors, bear, badger, wolf, etc. ; the 
Caiyaik, from birds and beasts of prey (White, 1932, p. 101). The 
chief supernatural patron of the Caiyaik was the mountain lion 
(mo-'k'aitc'"^ ; Felis concolor) . Others were wolf (k'ak'ana ; Canis nu- 
hilus), bobcat (dya-'t^"; Lynx rufus)^ cro'hona ("an animal larger 
than the bobcat, but looks like one") (see Stirling, 1942, p. 23), eagle 
(dya-'mi ; Aquila chrysaetos) , black-footed ferret (mai-'oyup' ; Mustela 
nigri'pes^ an important animal Caiyaik) , western redtail hawk (cpi-'yai ; 
Buteo horealis calurus), sharpshinned hawk (i-tsa; Accipiter velox), 
and Cooper hawk (cti-'ti; Accipiter cooperi): 

*" However, we should consider the fact that in the hair of the deceased townsman was 
placed a sparrow-hawk feather, which is the characteristic Quiraina feather. Compare 
Stirling, 1S42. p. 55, ftn. 30.— B. C. P. 

'1 The Kopictaiya come in winter, we recall, and the Keres generally consider the Quiraina 
to be winter people. — E. C. P. 

" Scalps are still kept in Santo Domingo (White, 1935, p. 60), and in San Felipe (White, 
1932 a, p. 13). They are attended not by Opi, since they have beconre extinct, but by Flint 
medicine men (who have numerous functions associated with war ; see White, 1935, p. 61 ; 
Stevenson, 1894, pp. 121-123). 

"For accounts of the scalp dance (ck'atseta), see White, 1932, pp 96-101; White, 
1932 a, pp. 53-54 ; Parsons. 1918, p. 165 flE. 

Anthkop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACORIA — WHITE 309 

K'ABI-'Na Tc'aIA-'n^I ^* 

Wlien Kapina tcaianyi came out from Shipap, latik" gave him two 
corn ear fetishes, exactly alike. The first one to be made by latikii was 
called Tsamaya; the other was called Tsamahi'ya (see Stirling, 1942, 
p. 37). Each fetish consisted of a completely kerneled ear of corn 
(k'oto'na) , wrapped with cotton and beads and decked at the tip with 
feathers. The butt end was wrapped with buckskin.^' Kapina tcaianyi 
were the only ones to have this kind of fetish. They did not cure sick- 
ness. They used to give power to men who were going to war." During 
the World War, Kapina tcaianyi held a 4-day ceremony every month 
to give power to the American troops who had gone to France ; other 
medicine societies joined Kapina in these ceremonies. 



When a medicine society is initiating new members, the tcaianyi 
go out at night, for four consecutive nights, to visit "places" 
(shrines?) north, west, south, and east of Acoma. If anyone meets 
a medicine man on one of these nocturnal tours and steps aside from 
the trail to let him pass, the medicine man will take hold of him, 
stroke his hair with his hand, and call him "my son." This person 
will now be obliged to become a member of the medicine man's so- 
ciety. Since no one wishes to be trapped and comj^elled to join, 
one has to be very careful : "You've got to stand your ground there 
until the tcaianyi goes by, even if it takes hours." ^^ 

Medicine men sometimes dye owl feathers red, blue, or green (why, 
I was not able to learn), and wear them on their heads. If anyone 
else dyes owl feathers, medicine men can compel them to join a medi- 
cine society. Anyone who paints a snake on a rattle may be 
compelled to join a medicine society. 


Co-nata (Wliite, 1932, p. 79) is the katsina nawai of the Corn clan. 
Parsons equates Conata (and Shoradja) with Shulawitsi of Zuni 
(Parsons, 1920, p. 101, ftn. 1; 1920 a, p. 69). My informant admits 
that some Acoma masks have been "copied from Zuni," but declares 

" The Acoma informant said he thought K'aB'Ina means, or connotes, "good strong 
heart." A Santo Domingo informant said that it meant "eat too much" (White, 1935, 
p. 67 ; see also Stirling, 1942. p. 37). 

^6 From the description of these fetishes, I can see no difference between them and the 
i'ariko corn-ear fetish of the other curing societies. 

"It was Kapina tcaianyi who whipped the war chiefs at their installation (White, 1932, 
pp. 48-49). It was my former understanding (White, 1932, p. 107), however, that Kapina 
undertook cures, although it was said by one Acoma informant (White, 1932, p. 117, ftn. 15) 
that Kapina joined the Flint society in its curing ceremonies. 

" Compare a like practice by the Hop! Snake society. If anyone encounters Snake society 
men on their 4-day hunt, he must be initiated into the Snake society. — E. C. P. 


that Conata was not among them: "they've always had Conata at 

The katsina name Ma'tsitsai'yackati'ta means: matsi, "blood"; 
tsaiya, "giving" ; ckatita, "doing it" — "he gives blood to children when 
he comes" (Wliite, 1932, p. 80). 

The katsina name G'auwatcuo'aiya (Wliite, 1932, p. 79) means: 
"tongue hanging out" (wa-tcrnt, "tongue"; o'aiya, "hanging down, or 

o'auayackutckrtsita katsina (Wliite, 1932, p. 77) is so called because 
he carries a bunch of feathers (o'auayackutckutsits) . When, in the 
songs, he raises his voice, he raises the bunch of feathers above his 
head, whereupon they "open out like an umbrella." 

The katsina name I-panikaodaockonaiya (White, 1932, p. 78) means : 
i-pani, "cactus"; kaodaockonaiya, "hanging on end of a stick." 

A'aik'ani (White, 1932, p. 78) katsina was so named because he 
cries "Ai ! Ai !" (k'ani, "acting that way"). 

Mictcaikoros (Wliite, 1932, p. 78) katsina means: mictcai, "ashes"; 
koros, "dusting with." 

The names of the two heads of the Kopictaiya, Dziu'kin and 
Ko'kirt (White, 1932, pp. 79, 86), allude to their performance of 
miracles : "just like Jesus with the loaves and fishes." 

On the west side of the Acoma mesa there is a column of rock 
rising to the level of the top of the mesa. This column is joined to 
the mesa by a narrow stone bridge (a natural formation). This 
"bridge" is called Gotitca'ntc; me means "people". The katsina 
name, Gotitca'nicamc, therefore, means "people of Gotitca'ntc" 
(White, 1932, p. 76). 

Tcai'nok'ana-tca katsina (White, 1932, p. 76) are also called Storo-ka,^^ 
a name which alludes to their cry or call which is "like a flute," 
Although dressed in female attire, Tcainokanatca is a male katsina 
"because he wears a napa-na Dyutstts," (napana, "white and sewed 
up" ; oyutstts, "manta") . 

Tstcttk'atsanie (White, 1932, pp. 77, 168) means "person of the deep 
pool of water." (On top of a big rock, a short distance west of 
Acoma, there is a deep pool of water; tsictt, "full of water"; katsi, 
"deep;" me, people or person). 

Ts'i'ts'inits' (White, 1932, pp. 72-74, 79) katsina was so called 
"because his teeth are showing."" 

»« Cf. Laguna, Parsons, 1920, p. 98 ; Gunn, 1917, pp. 172-175. The Kyanakwe of Zuni 
who have been equated with the Storoka are referred to as the White katsina. — E. C. P. 

" In a Laguna tale he takes a girl to his home as his wife ; she leaves him when she dis- 
covers that his bread is mixed with human blood (Gunn, 1917, pp. 127-133). He whips the 
children at the katsina initiation. 



Sa'romBia and Curatca (White, 1932, p. 79) were "copied from 
Zuiii." '0 

He-mtc katsina (White, 1932, p. 75, pi. 5, d) was so called because 
he "came from Jemez." 

The dead become katsina. — "First they go to Shipap ; then they go 
on to Wenima (place in the west; the home of most of the katsina), 
and become katsina" (White, 1935, pp. 198-199). 

Figure S. — He'-mic katsina. 


Signs and symbols, usually of meteorological phenomena, are fre- 
quently found in masks of the katsina. The white dome of He-mic 
katsina (fig. 5) represents clouds "piled up"; the black portion of the 
back of the mask is a storm cloud, which contains rain — the vertical 
lines inside the white rectangle. The spruce collar represents a wak'ai'- 

» Sa'romBia is evidently the Zufli Sallmopia. 


tiitc : "When it's raining a long way off you can see a straight [horizon- 
tal] line on the bottom of the rain clouds, with the rain coming down 
from that line. That (line) is a wak'ai'intc." Lightning, shown with 
eyes and mouth, protrudes from the front and side of the head.^^ 


In addition to the summer katsina ceremony, Natyati (White, 
1932, pp. 82-84), a masked dance is held in Mauharots (the head 
kiva), at night, at the summer and winter solstices (Wliite, 1932, 
pp. 84-85). Also, a masked (katsina) dance is held "8 days after the 
Laguna feast" on September 19. 

THE g'o'mAIYAWACi ^^ 

This word is translated "scout," as a rule, by informants, but "mes- 
senger" seems to be more appropriate. One informant told me that 
one could call a telegram messenger boy Gomaiyawaci "if he came 
on foot." 

The Gomaiyawaci live at W^enimats, the home of the katsina, and 
like the katsina they are impersonated in masks. On the fourth day 
preceding the date set for an appearance in the pueblo of the katsina 
or of the Kopictaiya, four Gomaiyawaci bring the news to Acoma. 
About 5 days before the ceremony, the cacique gives Masewi (the 
war chief) a handful of corn meal, wrapped in a corn husk, and 
tells him to take it to one of the kiva chiefs, whom he names, and to 
tell him to bring the message of the forthcoming ceremony to the 
pueblo. Masewi delivers the message. The kiva chief who receives 
the meal gets the other three chiefs of his kiva to help him. The 
four dress themselves as Gomaiyawaci and go to the plaza on the 
evening of the fourth day preceding the ceremony. Two Gomaiya- 
waci remain in the plaza ; the other two go to Mauharots, where they 
are admitted by the cacique and Masewi. The cacique asks them 
to sit down and gives them a smoke. Then the cacique and the war 
chief each puts a Gomaiyawaci on his back ^^ and carries him out 
of the kiva to the plaza where they join the other two messengers. 
One of the Gomaiyawaci gives the war chief a string with four knots 
in it : '* this means that the katsina (or Kopictaiya, as the case may 
be) will come to visit Acoma 4 days hence. The war chief makes 

*i Cf. Parsons, 1920, p. 99, fig. 7. These lightning sticks at Laguna had to be made by 
the Shiwana tcaianj'i. 

*a See White, 1932, p. 79. 

^ Koyomshi, Zufii counterpart of Gomaiyawaci, Is carried on the bacit of a liatsina in a 
Zufii ceremony (Parsons, 1939, p. 979). 

'* Cf. the ZuBi calendar strings of Shalako, one of which is kept by Father Koyemshl 
(Parsons, 1939, p. 979). 

Anthkop. Tap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — ^WHITE 313 

this announcement to the people (who will have gathered in the plaza 
for the message of the Gomaiyawaci) , and tells them to make prayer 

After further "sign talk," the Gomaiyawaci say goodbye. Two 
of them give the long deerskins which they wear to the cacique; 
the other two give theirs to the war chief. They leave the pueblo 
by the south trail and "go back to Wenimats," their home in the 
West. After dark, the sicti gaiya (kiva chiefs) reenter the pueblo, 
put their costumes away, and go home. 


A man representing Santiago "rides" a little black wooden horse 
on San Estevan's day "every once in a while." ^^ Santiago is accom- 
panied by a drummer (who beats a snarelike drum with two sticks, 
i. e., a Spanish type of drum), and preceded by Tcapiyo. Tcapiyo 
is a bogey mask said to have come from El Paso, and is used to 
frighten children for disciplinary reasons. He is found in many 
pueblos (see Parsons and Beals, 1934, p. 498). 

Santiago is impersonated because of a vow.-'' That is why he does 
not appear every year. It takes the impersonator months to get 
everything ready. He has to visit a number of pueblos and in each 
collect seeds of various cultivated plants, bits of horse and sheep 
manure, etc. These he keeps in a bag and eventually distributes 
among his own people (presumably during the ceremony) "to make 
them rich in crops and stock." The impersonator must provide him- 
self with a complete outfit of new clothing for his appearance : shoes, 
hat, suit, shirt, silk kerchief (which is worn over the face, just below 
the eyes), etc. All these things at the conclusion of the ceremony 
the impersonator must distribute. One informant said that the im- 
personator might give them away in the pueblo, to his friends or 
relatives, presumably. Another informant said that he must "take 
them out somewhere and give them to Santiago," i. e., deposit them 
at a shrine, for the saint. 

During the day on which Santiago appears, a Flint society man 
or a Fire society man must remain in his society's house all day. 


There were four clans (only) at Acoma which were custodians 
of ceremonies, or possessed ceremonial prerogatives: The Com clan 

2s Actually, of course, the "rider" carries the horse (through which the rider's body 
passes), suspending him with a strap across the rider's shoulders. (See White, 1935, pp. 
150-151. fig. 42 ; 1942 ; 1942 a, pp. 256-257.) 

^oCf. White, 1942 a, p. 258. Santiago with hobby horse is a common impersonation in 
Mexican saint's day dances. One dance is called "Los Santiagos." Participation in any 
saint's day dance in Mexico is often because of a vow, por promesa. — E. C. P. 

435660—43 21 


had the Curatca ceremonj^ (White, 1932, p. 94), the Pumpkin and 
Parrot clans jointly shared the salt-gathering ritual (White, 1932, 
p. 139), and the Antelope clan provided the cacique and was "the 
head of the katsina" (White, 1932, p. 41). Only these clans had 
"clan houses" in which they met for ceremonial purposes, and in 
which they kept whatever ceremonial paraphernalia they might 
possess. The other clans "had nothing to meet about." 

One can speak of clan "heads" at Acoma only in a general way. 
The eldest male of a clan may be called nawai (head or elder), but, 
except for the clans which possess ceremonies, this "headship" is vir- 
tually meaningless, since the head has no functions. The head of 
the Corn elan is the man in charge of the Curatca ceremony. The 
heads of the Pumpkin and Parrot clans were in charge of salt 
gathering (but it was the caci(iue and the war cliief who made the 
prayer sticks which they took with them to the lake). The cacique 
is the head both of the Antelope clan and of the katsina ceremonies. 
These heads of the four ceremony-possessing clans are assisted by two 
or three men (how chosen I was unable to learn), one of whom 
succeeds to the office. 

Origin of the Com clan ceremony. — Curatca lived in the north, 
somewhere. He built fires on the mountains all around. Conata, 
Komitina, and Oo-ma'acka (all katsina) joined Curatca. Kaupat 
joined him, too, as he was a great fire builder. (It was Kaupat who 
built the fire that produced the lava beds near Grants; White, 1932. 
pp. 165-168; Boas," 1928, pt. 1, pp. 76-82.) When Curatca and the 
other katsina got close to Acoma, they met the nawai of the Corn 
clan. "What are you doing and why?" the nawai asked Curatca. 
"This is my work," said Curatca, "I do this every 5 or 10 years. 
I am not doing this to burn (i. e., to destroy) the world, but to heat 
Mother Earth to make lier more fertile (diwa'coititaui sinaiya 
ha-atst)." Then the head of the Corn clan said to Curatca, "I am 
glad to receive you and welcome you. I want you to belong to the 
Corn clan. I want you to be our nawai." ^^ So the katsina stayed 
with the Corn clan at Acoma. But after a time they went to 
Wenima, and the Corn clan made masks to represent them. That 
is why the Corn clan has the Curatca ceremony today (While, 1932, 
pp. 94-96). 

The AnteJope clan. — This clan "wanted the katsina" when the peo- 
ple were living at White House. That is why they are the head of 
the katsina today. (Cf. White, 1932, pp. 154-156; Boas, 1928, pt. 1, 
pp. 35-38; Gatschet, 1891; Parsons, 1917.) 

" This Is ont-aii(l-0(it Hoj.i piittorn. — K. C. P. 



All the land at Acoma "belongs to the cacique." Land for farm- 
ing is allotted by the cacique to men who ask for it ; the cacique goes 
to the land and marks off its boundaries. In the old days, when a 
man asked the cacique for land, it was the custom to give him a 
present of a blanket or buckskin, or some flour. Nowadays, the 
cacique "asks for the present — just like the (Catholic) priest at 

When land has been allotted to a man it "belongs" to him and 
his family. At his death his widow and daughters inherit it. Land 
was transmitted, as a rule, from mother to daughter, but if there 
were no daughters, a son could inherit the land. Although in theory 
the "title" to all land remained permanently in the cacique's hands, 
custom would not permit him to deprive a family of farming land 
that they were using ; it was theirs as long as they continued to use it. 
But, should a family discontinue the use of a field or garden, the 
cacique could reassign it to someone else. When the cacique allotted 
land to a family he received no rent for its use (but see below). 

Grazing, timber, and hunting lands were open to all; anyone (i. e., 
any Acoma Indian) was free to use or exploit them. There were 
no "clan lands." 

Near the Acoma mesa, on the west side, is a tract of 10 or 15 acres 
of farming land which is, in effect, a communal farm; it is worked 
by all the people of Acoma and the crops are devoted to communal 
purposes.'-^ The war chief has charge of this farm; under his di- 
rection the people plant and till the fields and harvest the crops. 
Only corn is grown in these fields. The crop is stored in the war 
chief's house. 

When a communal ceremony (such as a masked dance) approaches, 
the "little chiefs" (i. e., helpers of the war chief) (White, 1932, p. 51) 
at the direction of the war chief, call unmarried girls and boys to 
the war chief's house to shell corn from the communal store. After 
the shelling, the little chiefs take the corn to various houses in the 
pueblo to be ground. Wlien they go to a house the woman there 
brings out a basket Avliieh the little chiefs fill with shelled corn. 
(Thus, by the size of her basket a woman regulates the amount of 
work she is willing to do.) Wlien the women have ground the corn 
they take the meal to the war chief's house, where the cocineros 
(cooks) (White, 1932, p. 51) receive it and pile it on a wagon sheet 

-^ See White. 1932, pp. 34, 42 ; Parsons, 1917, p. 173. 

-8 This farm is, no doubt, the equivalent of the "cacique's fields" in other Keresan towns. 
(See Stirling, 1942, p. 105.) 


on the floor. When the cooks return a basket to its owner, they give 
her a small quantity of meal to "pay" her for her work. 

Now the little chiefs take the meal around the pueblo to the houses 
of skillful wafer-bread makers to have the meal made up into wafer 
bread. The women make the bread in the morning. At noon the 
little chiefs go to each woman who has made bread and give her a 
little rabbit stew to pay her for her work. The women take the bread 
to the war chief's house and deliver it to the cooks (the cocineros). 
The bread will be used to feed the katsina or the Kopictaiya in the 
forthcoming ceremony. 

If a family has had a very poor harvest and needs help, they may 
apply to the war chief, who will give them some corn from the 
communal store. 

The war chief works in his fields in addition to supervising the 
communal fields. The cacique works in his own fields,^" but occasion- 
ally he draws upon the communal stores for corn. 


There used to be three corn-grinding groups among the women of 
Acoma. One group used Zuiii songs ; another used Ga'cputt (meaning 
obscure, apparently connected with the Koshare) songs and ritual 
(these were introduced by a Laguna woman who married into Acoma) ; 
and the third group used kaca'n songs, which "have always been at 

The women who used the Laguna songs were organized into a group 
which had a head called naiya (mother). Any woman could join this 
group, but, once a member, she could not withdraw. When the women 
wanted to grind, the "mother" set a date 4 days in advance. All 
members of the group were obliged to attend. They would meet at 
the house of one of their number shortly after midnight. Six of the 
women would grind at the six bins [one for each of the six directions ?]. 
As is not uncommon in grinding, each woman would smear some flour 
on each cheek.-^ The women who were not grinding would sit out in 
front and sing grinding songs. 

One of the grinding groups would "hire" men to sing for them 
while grinding. Two or three men would play flutes (o'kaiyatan), 
the others would beat time with a stick upon pieces of buffalo hide. 
(Cf. Laguna, Parsons, 1923, p. 216; general. Parsons, 1939, pp. 
380-381.) The men got their breakfast and dinner as their "pay." 
The women would bring their best meat and bread along to eat. They 

^This contradicts previous data (Wbite, 1932, p. 42). To be sure it has been reported 
tliat the people only harvested for the caciijue (Parsons, 1918, p. 173). 

^ I have frequently seen women, grinding alone or with another woman, with their cheeks 
smeared with flour, but I never learned why they do it. Cf. Parsons, 1939, p. 294, ftn. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA WHITE 317 

were obliged to grind all of the grain that they had brought before they 
quit. Sometimes they had to work until 9 or 10 o'clock at night to 


Kick-sticks are made in four different sizes. The smallest size is 
called icto'a (arrow) heme o'a'aca (of that size) atcawai'vt (kick- 
stick) ; it is the size of an arrow shaft. The next size (larger) is called 
waco'a'aca (next, or second size) atcawaiyi; the third size is o'a'atca 
(large size) atcawaiyt; the largest size is called na-'wa-k''^ (over all) 
atcawaiyt. The first and second sizes are the ones used most. The 
largest size, the nawak, is not used very much : "it makes the boys run 
too fast." 

The races are run by two teams, each chosen from a kiva group. 
(There are no clan races.) The number of men constituting a team 
might vary, and also, apparently, one team might have more membeps 
than the other. If they were going to run a great distance they would 
have four men (or boys) on a team; if the distance to be run were not 
very great, the teams might be composed of only two or three runners 
each. Long ago, when the men and boys used to spend a great deal 
of time in the kivas during the wintertime, these races used to be 
much more frequent than they are now. 

While the runners were getting ready, the members of their respec- 
tive kivas would be arranging wagers. The betting was voluntary and 
conducted individually. A man who wished to place a bet would bring 
whatever he wished to wager — arrows, buckskin, belts, leggings, man- 
tas, bows, etc. — to a meeting place in the plaza. There he would seek a 
man in the other kiva group who wished to bet. Wlien they had come 
to terms on the value of their respective wagers, the articles were tied 
together and placed in a pile on the ground; these articles were 
watched by a man who belonged to neither kiva represented in the 
race. The runners themselves did no betting; they remained in their 
respective kivas until all wagers were arranged. (Cf. Culin, 1907, 
pp. 668-669; Parsons, 1923, p. 219, and 1939, p. 821 ff.) 

The runners come out of their kivas. They wear only a breechclout. 
The war chief gives one kick-stick to each team. The sticks have been 
made by the war chief who takes pains to have them of equal 
size. Each team paints its kick-stick. First they are whitened with 
ha-ck'a-nyt (isinglass; this material was formerly used for window- 
panes, and even today there are some houses with panes of isinglass) : 
they rub the isinglass in a groove on a flat rock, spit on the powder thus 
formed, making a paste which is smeared thinlj^ over the entire surface 
of the sticks. When the coat of white has dried on the sticks, one 
team paints both ends of its stick black ; the stick is then called o'a'ci, 
white. The other team paints a black stripe around the middle of its 


stick; it is then known as tso'yo. Two of the four tubes in the game 
of hidden ball (White, 1932, p. 138; Culin, 1907, p. 351) are named 
n'a'ci and tso'yo. The informant said he did not know the meaning 
of these names, but a Sia informant told me that tso'yo means "tied 
around the middle." 

The teams, together with a great crowd of men and boys now go 
down to the foot of the mesa to a sand pile on the west side, where 
the race is to begin. The war chief starts them. One runner in 
each team kicks the stick as far as he can. Another runner, called 
oa'oyokai (watcher), runs up to where the kick-stick has come to 
rest and points it out to his team mates with a stick which he carries, 
crying, "Do'sinu," (right here!). Then he runs on ahead to locate 
the stick after it has been kicked again. Each team kicks only its 
own stick, of course. 

They start below the Acoma mesa on the west side. They run 
toward the west, then south, east, north, and west again, returning 
to their starting point. All of the men and boys in the pueblo who 
are able to do so, usually run along after the teams (except, of course, 
the cacique, war chiefs, medicine men, etc.). There is great enthusi- 
asm during these races. The course varies in length from 2 or 3 to 
8 or 10 miles. The war chief remains at the starting point; it is 
he who judges the winner. Wlien the teams have returned, the war 
chief takes both the kick-sticks and "goes out to pray with them." 

The purpose of the race is, like so many pueblo ceremonies, "to bring 
rain," ^^ "The katsina use kick-sticks when they come bringing the 
rain. If you watch the water coming down oS of a mesa during a 
rain, you will see that it does not flow evenly; it comes in spurts. 
That is because the katsina are running along, kicking their atca- 
waiyi." It is said, also, that these races serve to "make the boys 
good runners." 

The pile of articles, laid as wagers, are distributed to their re- 
spective winners at the end of the race. 


At birth, the sister of the new-born baby's father comes, bathes 
the baby, and cares for him for 4 days. On the morning of the fourth 
day, before sunrise, a medicine man and his wife take the baby out 
to present him to the sun and to give him a name (White, 1932, 
pp. 132-135). The medicine man paints "lines, or bird or animal 
tracks" underneath the eyes of baby boys, on their cheek bones; the 
faces of girls are smeared with corn pollen and corn meal. 

°^ A kick-stick is deposited, as a prayer stick, for raia (White, 1932, p. 127, pi. 15, r; 
Stirling, 1942, p. 45.) 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA WHITE 319 


They are called tso-k'o (pair). "Maybe they are caused by the 
deer or antelope" (because these animals bring forth their young 
in pairs). (Cf. Zufii, Parsons, 1939, p. 90; see, too, Parsons, 1918, 
p. 176.) No special power is attributed to twins, as at Laguna or 
among Hopi. (See Boas, 1928, pt. 1. p. 298; Parsons, 1939, p. 1055.) 


Names are of common gender; the same name might be given to 
a girl or a boy. As among Hopi, the name of the child frequently 
alludes to the name of his father's clan. For example, a child whose 
father belongs to the Eagle clan might be named cpai'ak'^, a short, 
fluffy eagle feather, frequently worn at the crown of the head (White, 
1932, p. 153) . One whose father was a member of the Corn clan might 
be named ya'pact (cornsilk). If the father was of the Oak clan, the 
child might be called masa-n^i (leaves). 


When a child is to be initiated into the katsina organization, his 
father selects a man to "take care of him" during the initiation. 
This man belongs to the same clan as the father, as a rule, but he 
may be selected from another clan. This sponsor selects another 
man, usually a close relative, to assist in the initiation ritual by tying 
a feather in the hair of the novice and giving him a new name (Wliite, 
1932, pp. 71-75). After the initiation, the head of the novice is 
washed by the wife of the sponsor and her sisters. If the sponsor 
and the-one-who-ties-on-the-feather belong to a clan other than that 
of the novice's father, the novice will thereafter address them as 
naicdia, father, and their wives as mother. (If these two men be- 
longed to the same clan as the father, the child would call them 
father because of this fact, apart from the initiation.) But the 
novice would not extend the use of relationship terms to clansmen 
of those he addresses as "father." 


If one is sick and wishes to join a curing society, he selects one 
of the doctors to be his "father." This man teaches the novice, pro- 
vides him with clothing and paraphernalia upon being initiated, and 
gives him his new name. Thereafter they address each other as 
father and son. (There is doubt in this instance whether or not 
the new member would address all men in his "doctor father's" clan 
as father and their respective wives as mother.) 



A mother might "whip" her child; a father "should not."^* A 
boy is usually taught such things as hunting, moccasin making, names 
of birds, animals, etc., by his father, although his mother's brother 
may instruct him in these matters, too. One informant said that it 
was his mother's father who used to tell him "the stories about long 
ago." Sacred lore concerning Shipap, the katsina, and so on, are 
told to the boy by the cacique at the time of initiation into the 
katsina organization (White, 1932, pp. 74-75), A young man might 
be advised regarding his contemplated marriage by his father and 
mother and by their bi'others and sisters; a girl might be similarly 
advised. It is the father's sister wlio comes at childbirth, bathes 
the baby, and cares for him until after he has been named on the 
fourth day. The father's sister is accorded the same treatment as the 
mother's sister ; "you are supposed to be good to her." Both father's 
sister and mother's brother may call upon a boy to work for them; 
if both ask simultaneously, preference would be given to the father's 
sister "because she is a woman and needs it more." The mother's 
brother advises boys, telling them what is right, wrong, etc.; but 
he does not whip his sister's children. A man is called ctanawai'ici 
(our head) by his sister and her children: "he is the head of that 
family." All cousins, whether on the mother's side or on the father's, 
are treated alike. Grandfathers frequently take care of small grand- 
children while their mother is working. Older sisters have to take 
care of their younger brothers and sisters. "A man works for his 
wife and her family." 

One is buried by his close relatives; no relative has any special 
dutj^ in this matter, so far as I could discover. An old man or 
woman, who had no brothers or sisters, children or grandchildren, 
would be buried by the clansmen of his or her father. 

Johmg relationship. — This exists between grandfathers and grand- 
sons and between grandmothers and granddaughters (reciprocal rela- 
tionship terms are emploj^ed by these relatives). A boy might 
ridicule his grandfather (either paternal or maternal), for example, 
saying: "I can chop wood better than that," upon seeing him chop- 
ping. A girl might say to her gi-andmother, "I could grind corn 
better than that," or "I could make better tortillas than that." "The 

*> The following notes are statements made by informants. There was little opportunity 
to study correlation between them and actual practice. 

** But actual whipping seems to have been very rare. The usual disciplinary device is 
to frighten the child with the threat that a bogey (usually TcapiyO) will get him. A man 
told mo that once one of his sons, in play, put a slipnoose around the neck of his younger 
brother and drew it tight. "He nearly choked him to death. I ran out and took the rope 
off and called to his mother. She ran out and got the little boy. Then she whipped the 
big one." 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — ^WHITE 321 

boy helps out his grandmother against her husband; the girl helps 
out her grandfather against his wife." This custom is said to en- 
courage children to "do their best, to do more and better work, so 
they will be better than their elders." But, "they don't joke as 
much at Acoma as they do at Laguna." One never jokes with his 
parents nor with their brothers and sisters, nor with the relatives of 
a spouse. 


When a man, bringing his foreign bride home, nears the Acoma 
mesa the war chief (who would have been advised of their approach, 
of course) comes down to the foot of the trail on the south side 
to meet them. He leads them up the trail, making hi'amvn'^t (a 
"road" of corn meal) for them. Wlien they near the top of the 
mesa, the war chief calls out to the cacique, who has come out to 

greet them, telling him that a girl of the clan from 

(naming clan and pueblo) is coming to Acoma to live. "Hima-na! 
(Welcome I) " the cacique cries, "Dyvpi'iana (Let her come up !) " The 
war chief asks for permission to admit the stranger, asking four 
times,^^ and as many times the cacique bids her enter and be welcome. 
Then the party goes up on top of the mesa. The cacique embraces 
the newcomer saying, "You are my daughter. You are now under 
my arm (or, on the top of my head)." ^® Then the war chief takes the 
couple to the house of the groom where his father and mother greet 
them. The groom's mother washes the heads of both bride and 
groom. If the clan of the adopted girl is represented at Acoma, all 
of the women of that clan come and wash her head : each woman puts 
a bit of suds on the girl's head, then the "mother" (naiya, i. e., the 
oldest woman of the clan) finishes the washing. The girl keeps her 
own name; she is not given a new one. Should her clan be lacking 
in Acoma, given descendants she would become the founder of a new 
clan there. If she had been a medicine woman at her former home, 
she would have to join one of the Acoma medicine societies, the one 
most like her own. 

A foreign bridegroom would be received at Acoma in the same 
manner as a foreign bride. Any Indian spouse would be given this 

*5This is the customary procedure, faithfully reported in myths and tales. At this point 
I asked the Informant, "Why do they always ask questions like this four times?" "Because 
they think that makes it more complete." 

8" "Under my arm" is a metaphor similar to "under my wing." (See Stirling, 1942, 
p. 91). The houses of Acoma pueblo rest upon the top of rocks called yak« (corn) 
k'oto'na (the perfect, completely kerneled ear of corn). G'ana'atcructca (? on the top 
of), i. e., the houses rest on the top of a perfect ear of corn, standing erect on the butt 
end. The cacique is the earthly representative of the mother, latiku, who is represented 
by a perfect ear of corn. Thus the ear of corn may stand for the cacique. Hence, these 
rocks are as the cacique, and the pueblo is on the top of his bead. 


reception, but no white, Negro, er Mexican spouse would be so 


Before burial a medicine man paints on the faces of boys or men 
the designs that were painted on their faces when they were presented 
to the sun on the fourth morning after birth ; and, consistently, the 
faces of deceased girls or women are smeared with pollen. To the 
crown of a woman's head her husband (or the nawai, head, of her 
clan, if she has no husband) ties a cpai'ak'* (short, fluffy eagle 
feather) . 

The hair of the deceased is cut before burial." A man's hair is 
cut in front so that it reaches the eyebrows, and on the side it is cut 
on a level with the chin. "This is the way latik (the mother of the 
Indians) wears her hair" (it is also the way the men at Santo Do- 
mingo, but not at Acoma, wear their hair). The hair of deceased 
women is cut in front and on each side on a level with the mouth, 
parted in the middle, and tucked behind the ears. 

After the body has been taken out for interment, a stick that has 
been used to poke and stir the fire (eaiyakani) is laid in the place 
where the dead one lay. This poker represents the body of the 
deceased. A flint arrowhead, representing the heart of the deceased, 
is placed by the poker. These are kept there for 4 days. A bowl 
of water is placed by them to supply them with drinking water, and 
they are "fed" at each meal (i. e., a bit of food is placed on the floor 
beside them) . 

On the fourth day after burial, a medicine man takes the poker, 
flint, bowl, food (that has been "fed" to the stick and the flint), and 
a prayer stick out to the north side of the pueblo, where he buries 
everything except the flint "heart"; this he returns to the relatives 
of the deceased. 

ALL souls' day ^^ 

On the evening of November 1, the souls of the dead return from 
Shipap to visit their relatives ; they spend one night and then return to 
Shipap. On the afternoon of the first, the governor, or the Bickale, 
has someone ring the church bell about 3 o'clock; it is rung con- 
tinuously until midnight. About dusk, women of the various house- 
holds take food to the church; they put it down on the platform in 
front of the church (the dead are buried in the churchyard in front 
of the church). First they pray, then they put down some wafer 
bread, then they put the stewed meat on top of the bread ; tliis food is 

^ This may be one explanation for the extreme opposition in early days to cutting the 
hair of schoolboys. — E. C. P. 

«8 Cf. Dumarest, 1919, pp. 170-172 ; White, 1935. pp. 148-149. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 321 NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA WHITE 323 

for the dead. They light a candle and leave it by the food. One of 
the Bickale is there to get the candles ; he extinguishes them and keeps 
them for the Catholic priest. Later on in the evening, "some boys 
and old folks" come and get the food; they either eat it there or 
take it home to eat. 

In the evening, after dark, groups of people who know how to pray 
in Spanish go from house to house singing Catholic hymns. Wlien 
they come to someone's house they call out "Sare'mo, sare'mo!"^® 
The women of the house have to give them bread. The medicine 
men make prayer sticks for the dead.*" 

At Acomita (a colony of Acoma some 12 miles away), the pro- 
cedure is the same. "Before they had the church at Acomita, they 
used to take the food out toward the north." Many Mexicans come 
to Acomita on this night to get bread. "They come in wagons. 
You've got to give it to them." 


Any male at Acoma may make prayer sticks (h'a'tcami'nyi) (White, 
1932, pp. 125-129, pis. 13, 14, 15) after he has passed through the 
katsina initiation; females make wasanyi (feather bunches) instead 
of prayer sticks. 


G'au'watsaicoma ; a pit in the floor on the north side of a kiva, 
or a pit in the wall where people put prayer feather bunches, 
prayer sticks, or prayer meal. The war chief gathers these and 
takes them out to one of the four Gauwatsaicoma of the cardinal 
points, near Acoma. When men go out hunting, they deposit their 
prayer sticks in these Gauwatsaicoma. The hole in the earth at 
Shipapu, through which the Indians emerged into this world, is 
called Gauwatsaicoma (it is the real Gauwatsaicoma). 

89 We had surmised that this term was from saTvemos. "(?) let us taste" (Parsons, lOS^, 
p. 856), but it is probably from oremus, "let us pray." Mexican children going from house 
to house sing : 

"Oremos ! Oremos ! Angelitos 
Somos del cielo venimos 
A x)edlr limosna, y si no nos 
Dan, puestas y ventanas 
Quebraremos ! 
Oremos ! Oremos ! 

"Hear us ! [?] Hear us ! Little angels are we 
Who from Heaven have come 
To ask for alms. 
And if we are denied, 
Doors and windows we will break ! 
Hear us ! Hear us !" 

(Otero, 1936, p. 71-72).— E. C. P. 

*" The curing societies at Santo Domingo and at Cochlti hold meetings at this time. 


G'o'wawaima is a place at the foot of the Acoma mesa on the west 
side ; it is the home of hi'ctianyi k'o'asf t, "flint- wing creature." ^^ 

Tsi-'maiti : "Earth" ; a design made on the floor with colored sands 
and corn meal; represents naiya ha-atsi (mother earth). Tsimaiti 
are made at communal cures and at childbirth (White, 1932, p. 133, 
pi. 16), but are not made at initiation into the katsina organization. 

Tsica'ata Dyaoma'wa: supernatural power. 

Maia-'nyi: These are spirits, or supernatural powers, such as the 
sun, the moon, stars, the kopictaiya, the rain makers of the cardinal 
points, tsa-ts' (soul or breath), the katsina, airplanes, clouds, Masewi 
and Oyoyewi, Nautsitt. "Maianyi *- are anything that we don't 

Sicti : "any common person ;" one who has been initiated into the 
katsina organization is sicti tcaianyi. But one is not sicti while 
wearing a katsina mask. Medicine men, Koshare, and officers (while 
in office only) are not sicti (cf. White, 1935, pp. 167-168). 


Direction Color 

North (tioya'mt) k'otctm (yellow). 

West (Bvnarui) k'o'ick" (blue). 

South (k'o'wami) kvk'am (red). 

East (h'a-'nami) stcami'ts (white). 

Zenith (cyi'nami) mtcttts ("black"?). 

Nadir (nik'ami) tsi-'ck'" (gray?). 


In 1851, Wm. A. Hammond, a medical officer in the United States 
Army (who later became Surgeon General in the Army, professor of 
diseases of the mind and nervous system in the New York Post- 
Graduate Medical School, and president of the American Neuro- 
logical Association) examined a man-woman at Acoma, and described 
him as follows : 

There was no remarkable development of the mammary glands ; the pubis 
was devoid of hair ; the penis was greatly shrunken, not being over an inch 
in length when flaccid, and of about the circumference of the little finger. 
The testicles apparently consisted of nothing but connective tissue, as no pain 
was experienced on strong pressure being applied to the soft flat masses, 
about the size of a kidney bean, which lay at the bottom of the scrotum. 

"See White, 1932, p. 172-178; Boas, 1928, pt. 1, pp. 111-118. At Santo Domingo, 
Gowawaima is a "place in the south" where certain "shlwana" (who may be seen by white 
people) come from (White, 1935, p. 114). Go'hawaima Is mentioned in a Cochiti version 
of the emergence as a place in the south toward which the migration proceeded (Benedict, 
1931, p. 250). 

*3 Boas renders maianyi "vapor" in speaking of the return of the spirits of the dead : 
"they eat only the maianyi of the food set out for them" (Boas, 1928, pt. 1, p. 299). 

Antheop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — ^WHITE 325 

There was no genital deformity of any kind whatever. The limbs and the 
whole body were full and rounded, and there was not a sign of hair anywhere 
except on the scalp. The voice was shrill and weak. As he stood naked before 
me, the whole appearance was more that of a woman than of a man. When 
he put on his woman's dress, it was impossible to discover any mark of differ- 
ence between him and the women among whom he lived. *3 

On several occasions I endeavored to secure information about 
men-women at Acoma. "They dress, talk, and live like women 
because they want to, and in their body they are men," sums up 
the information I have received. Most informants were reluctant 
to talk about them; one old man positively refused, saying that it 
was " a shame." 

*^ Sexual Impotence in the Male, p. 164 ff. I am indebted to Mr. E. D. Gumming, of 
Scarsdale, N. Y.. for this reference. 


Autobiographies of North American Indians are not numerous. It 
is especially difficult to secure them from Pueblo Indians of the South- 
west. This is due to the peculiar mentality of these people. They are 
not individualists; they are not given to reflective introspection and 
analysis. They do not conceive of human experience as something de- 
pendent upon an intimate and personal encounter and compact with a 
supernatural being, a guardian spirit (as do the Plains Indians, or the 
Winnebago). Rather they conceive of the world (cosmos) as a vast, 
intricate, yet well-ordered machine, which, properly tended, will run 
smoothly and forever. It is not exactly a machine, in the mechanical 
sense, but rather an organization and integration of beings and powers 
whose behavior conforms to a fairly uniform pattern, and upon whose 
regularity one can depend. 

Life to a Pueblo Indian is analogous to a great ocean liner at sea. 
The Pueblo Indian fits into the pueblo as a member of the crew fits into 
the ship's company. The crew must run the ship, they must know how 
to control it, to articulate it with the forces of the sea and the heavens. 
They must know how to manipulate such paraphernalia as sextants 
and barometers, and must know formulas of triangulation and bar- 
ometric pressure. As there are navigators, stokers, helmsmen, and 
deckhands, so there are sun watchers, priests, and ordinary folk (the 
sicti) among the Pueblos. And as the personal and subjective exper- 
ience of the individual is irrelevant to the conduct of the ship, so is the 
personal and subjective experience of the Pueblo Indian irrelevant to 
the conduct of pueblo life. 

The nature of the Pueblo Indian's world is known to him from 
mythology. He knows that to live with his people and his gods he 
must behave according to a pattern that is laid out for him. Whether 
he be a priest or an ordinary common person, it is all the same : he 
must know what to do and how to do it. This means that almost all 
of life is formalized, ritualized. One cannot even pray except upon 
specified occasions and with set formulas. One's individuality is the 
individuality of a unit in a textile pattern, repeated over and over 

I have tried numerous times to secure autobiographies, but without 
much success. The Indian tells of his initiation into the organization 
which impersonates gods with the same impersonality and detachment 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — ^WHITE 327 

that he tell of his birth. The autobiography of a Pueblo Indian is 
about as personal as the life story of an automobile tire. 

The following autobiographic sketch is presented with full realiza- 
tion of all this, and with an appreciation of its many shortcomings. 
Still it is the best that could be obtained. It presents a number of 
snapshots of a Pueblo Indian, which have some value, as well as illu- 
minating a few passages and points in Acoma history and sociology. 
The narrator is about 73 years old (1941) . 


The church was there [at Acoma] when I first opened my eyes. A 
priest lived there all alone. Before that time there used to be judges 
and constables living there with the priest. Everybody had to go to 
church then. If a man or woman did not go, the judges or constables 
came and got him, or her, and took him to the church. They tied him 
to a post and whipped him, or her, until he said "yes." If a husband or 
a wife ran around with someone else, the wife or husband could tell the 
judges. They decided what to do. If they decided that the accused 
was guilty they took him to the Komanira [the house in which "coun- 
cil" meetings are held] ** and whipped him. 

The people had to supply the priest and the judges and constables 
with food and wood. The Bickale [fiscales] had charge of that. 
Every family had to contribute. The unmarried girls and boys 
had to work in the church and the school and in the quarters of the 
priest, judges, and constables. They had a school in those days; 
they taught the children to read and write Spanish and they taught 
the Catholic religion. Whenever they had katsina dances at Acoma 
the priest and the constables had to stay in their rooms or leave 
the mesa. 

But when I was a little boy only the priest lived at Acoma, alone. 
I don't know why the teachers and judges left. Someone told me 
that they had a quarrel with the Indians and the Indians were going 
to kill them. When I was a little boy the convento was in good shape 
and very pretty. We used to have Mass every morning and on 
Sunday, too.*' 

In the house where I first opened my eyes lived my mother and 
father, my mother's mother and father, three brothers and two 
sisters of my mother, and my mother's mother's mother. One of my 
sanawe (mother's brother), the oldest, was married and lived at 

** White, 1932, pp. 30, 60, fig. 1 ; StlrUng. 1942, flg. 1, T. The term may be derived from 
the Spanish comunidad.— E. C. P. 

^'The priest no longer lives at Acoma. He comes there once a year on San Estevan's 
Day (September 2) from Old Laguna or San Fidel. He performs Mass occasionally at 
Acomita. (See White, 1932, p. 32.) 


his wife's house. My mother's eldest sister was married; her hus- 
band lived there with us. I was the oldest among my brothers and 

In those days theie were no doors on the first floor of the houses. 
There were little isinglass (h'a-ck'a-ny') windows. There was no 
air except, perhaps, through a little hole in the window. Whenever 
there was any hollering [specifically, announcements of the war 
chief or governor] in the streets, my mother would listen at this 
hole, or else look out. Indoors we spent most of our time on the 
ground floor in wintertime. In summer we lived on the second (or 
third) floor. We slept on sheep pelts [as many do today]. 

I used to play with a boy about my size who lived next door. He 
was not a relative. We used to hunt squirrels and birds with bow 
and arrow, both on top of the mesa and at the bottom. 

My mother's mother (sapapa) and mother's father (sanana), he 
especially, used to tell me stories. I used to spend a lot of time with 

We didn't have any wagons or kerosene lamps then. We had some 
two-wheeled carts with solid wooden wheels. For light we had a 
bowl with sheep fat in it and a wick. We never had any matches ; we 
made fire with a fire drill (a-*y"tc6'mt). There were only a feAv guns 
in the pueblo, mostly flint locks. Most hunters hunted with bow and 
arrows and clubs. Some people had a few Mexican dishes, but most 
of the families had only [Indian] pottery bowls. At that time no one 
did any farming in the Acomita valley. There were only a few 
houses at Acomita; they belonged to people who used to graze their 
sheep down there. 

When I was very small my mother's father and mother went to 
Laguna to sell some pottery and buy some things. They brought 
back some wheat. That was the first time I ever saw it. Once in a 
while they got some coffee and sugar. Poor Mother ! She was very 
fond of coffee. But we were very poor and never had much. 

My father was a medicine man : he was the head of the Fire Society. 
These tcaianyi used to perform their ceremony ^® twice a year. My 
mother and I used to go with them. Everybody had to wait on top of 
the k'a"atc [kiva ; chamber where the society held its meeting] until 
the tcaianyi sang the song for us to come down. When they sang the 
song for us to come in, one medicine man would come up and remove 
the line of ashes with his flint.*^ We were all eager to get in first in 

*« Solstice ceremonies? (See White 1932, pp. 84-85.) 

■*' During initiation ceremonies medicine societies lay down lines of ashes on the ground 
around the front of the house. No one is allowed to cross this line, under penalty of becom- 
ing a member of the society (White, 1932, p. 112). The same custom is observed at other 
Keresan pueblos. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 321 NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — WHITE 329 

order to get the good seats. Women with small children went into a 
room on the west side of the curing chamber. 

There used to be lots of medicine men, more than there are now. 
Wlien we would come in, the tcaianyi would have their ya-Baicint 
[wooden slat altar] up. The head man would be sitting in front of the 
sand painting by his two medicine-bowls. These bowls were made of 
gypsum (Spanish, yeso; Keresan, ba-'t^") hollowed out; they had 
terraced sides, and pictures of snakes, clouds, lightning, etc., painted 
or carved on the sides. 

[Here the narrator went into a detailed account of the paraphernalia 
and ritual; how the medicine man gathered, dried, and ground the 
herb medicine, etc. It was difficult to get him to tell about his own 
experiences.] I used to get scared at these ceremonies. The tcaianyi 
used to tell us about witches, and hov>^ they went around killing people. 
Wlien they would look through the ma-'caiyoyo [the quartz crystal 
that gives second sight] (see White, 1932, p. 110; 1932 a, p. 47; 1935, 
p. 127; Densmore, 1938, p. 60; Parsons, 1920, p. 119; Dumarest, 1919, 
p. 156) to find the witches, they would yell and scare us. My mother 
and I and my sisters used to have to stay after the ceremony was all 
over, as my mother had to pack up my father's things and take them 
home. My father had three or five yaya (honani, corn-ear fetich) ; 
one was made for him at the time of initiation, the others he had 
received at the death of society members. 

There were no American doctors anywhere near Acoma in those 
days. The tcaianyi (medicine men) were all we had. But there 
were lots of them : we had Hakanyi (Fire) , Hictianyi (Flint) , Kapina, 
and Sii (Ant) tcaianyi. 

When I was 5 I was "whipped into katsina" (see White, 1932, 
pp. 70-75). They were very strict about the katsina in those days — 
not like it is now; everyone had to join and take part [i.e., in the 
masked dances]. I was pretty scared when they initiated me. I 
thought Tsitsmits (the katsina whipper) was real. They didn't show 
us the masks until 2 or 3 years afterward, when we got to be old 
enough to know about such things. 

We didn't have any fights with the Navahos when I was a boy. 
When I was about 7 years old a bunch of Indians from Cochiti, 
Domingo, and other pueblos near there, about 40 of them, passed 
through Acoma on their way to California. They were going out 
there to work in sheep camps or do some other work so they could 
buy some horses and bring them back. They stopped at Acoma over 
night. After supper they went through the streets singing, "Cali- 
forniya omi'aro-tsi, wiya heya," etc. It was a Comanche song saying, 
"California, I am going out there." One of the earliest of the "Cali- 
fornia, here I come" songs. Next morning they left early. One of 

435660—43 22 


my mother's brothers went to California and stayed more than 
10 years. 

When I was about 10 years old there was a shortage of food. The 
crops weren't good, and we didn't have enough to eat. We had to 
eat prickly-pear cactus and "wild potatoes." We used to boil them 
with pure pottery clay and eat them. We sure had a hard time. 

I went to Albuquerque when I was about 12 years old to attend 
the Mission school there. There was no school at Acoma. I couldn't 
talk either English or Spanish. When we got to Albuquerque we 
had to cross the river by boat, as there was no bridge there then. 
We left our burros on the west side and crossed on a flat boat. 

I stayed at the Mission 3 years without going home. Sometimes 
some men from Acoma would come down to the Mission to see their 

They were building the railroad into Albuquerque at that time. 
Sometimes we went down to watch the men work on it. Wlien we 
first saw the locomotives we nearly fainted, we were so scared. We 
thought it might swallow, burn, or run over us. 

At the end of 3 years we went home. They had the railroad 
completed as far as McCarty's [a station on the Santa Fe railroad 
85 miles west of Albuquerque, with a colony of Acoma, also called 
McCarty's] and we rode out on a flat car. It took all day to get 
home. The people at Acoma thought the engine and train were 
supernatural. They used to make prayer sticks for the engine and 
put them under the ties or rails and ask the engine for what they 
wanted of it. When they got courage enough to come up close to 
the engine, they used to throw prayer meal on it. 

At the end of the summer we went back to school in Albuquerque ; 
we rode again on a flat car. I had learned to speak English during 
my first 3 years at school. I got my English name at school, too. 
My parents never learned to speak English. Wlien we got back in 
the fall we helped build a new school; we helped make and burn 
bricks. There were some Ute boys there at school. They were 
"tough guys": they would not allow their hair to be cut. I got my 
Bible at that time— 1883. I've still got it. 

I didn't go to school in 1885-86. The Mission was Presbyterian, 
and my folks didn't like that; they thought I ought to go to a 
Catholic school. So in 1886 I went to the Catholic school at Santa 
Fe, this time on a passenger train. My father died in August 1887, 
and my mother's sister's husband came up to bring me home. He 
was the war chief at Acoma. He came on horseback, leading another 
horse for me. 

On the way back to Acoma we stopped at Domingo. My "uncle" 
[mother's sister's husband is called naicdia, "father," in Keresan, but 
the narrator spoke of him as "uncle"] had a brother who had mar- 

Anthkof. i-AP. No. 3ii] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — WHITE 331 

ried in Domingo and was living there with his wife and children. 
They were glad to see us. The Domingos believe that Acoma and 
Zuiii are close to Wenima, the home of the katsina or rain-makers. 
Consequently, when an Acoma or a Zuiii Indian comes to Domingo 
they believe that it is sure to rain because they live near the katsina. 

The next day they had a katsina dance at Domingo. They danced 
Tsaiyaityuwi katsina *^ with six pairs of side dancers. They danced 
all morning. At noon, the side dancers made everyone go into his 
house and close the door while the katsina ate their lunch; no one 
was even allowed to see the old ladies carrying food to the dancers.*^ 

After lunch we went back to the plaza. The side dancers were 
very strict. They wouldn't let people watch the dance from the 
housetops. You had to stay down in the plaza. And you had to 
stay there, too; you were not allowed to leave until the dance was 
over.'^'^ If you had to relieve yourself, you had to use a pottery 
bowl. During the afternoon a little boy ran across the plaza. The 
side dancers hollered and chased him. The tsatyao hotcani ["outside 
chiefs," i. e., war chiefs and their helpers] came out and held the 
katsina back with their yapi [staffs of office]. If they had not done 
this, the side dancers could have killed the little boy, or severely 
beaten him, and no one could have blamed them. They could do 
this to anybody. One of the tsatyao hotcani picked the little boy 
up and took him back to his mother. 

Late in the afternoon it clouded up and rained, hard. The katsina 
kept on dancing. We all had to sit out there in the rain until they 

That night we stayed at my "uncle's" house. There was a girl 
there who took a fancy to me. She wanted me to stay there in 
Domingo and be her husband. I stayed with her that night (at her 
invitation) but the next morning I left with my "uncle." She went 
along with us until we got out of the pueblo about a mile. She 
was nice and pretty, but I did not think I was old enough to get 
married yet. 

I never went to school again after my father died. My mother 
moved to the house of one of her sisters to live. I had to take care 
of the fields and the sheep. 

But when I went back to Acoma to stay, I didn't take part in the 
ceremonies and their religion. I didn't want to go to the estufa 

«A very important katsina at Santo Domingo today (White, 1935, pp. 97, 107, 172, fig. 
22 ; see also Stirling, 1942, p. 48, ftn. 22). 

*» "At Acoma they aren't that strict. The katsina eat back of the church. No one can 
go back where they are except the old ladies carrying food. But anyone is allowed to see 
the food being carried to the dancers." 

■^A Santa Ana pueblo man once told me that he did not care to attend katsina dances 
at Santo Domingo because "they make you stay right there in the plaza until the dance 1b 


[Spanish for oven; name applied by early Spaniards to kivas], make 
prayer sticks, etc. I believed in the Bible. When they were going 
to have a ceremony, like a katsina dance, I would go out to sheep 
camp while they were getting ready, and then come back to Acoma 
on the day of the dance. The old men and officers didn't like this. 
They had a meeting to talk about it. They decided to make all the 
young men who had learned some American ways take part in all 
the ceremonies and Indian religion. 

One afternoon when I was out in the sheep camp some men came 
up. Two were Bickale, one was a tsatyao hotcani. They told me 
I had to go back with them. "Wliat is it all about?'' I asked them. 
"When you get back you'll see," they told me. Wlien we got back 
to Acoma they let me go to my house. Wlien my mother saw me 
she threw her arms around me and cried and cried. After a while 
some of the "little chiefs" [helpers of the war chiefs] came and took 
me to Mauharots estufa. This was the "head" kiva. There were 
lots of people inside. When you got to the entrance [in the roof] 
you could feel the steam [from their bodies] coming up. 

The little officers took me down inside. It was stifling hot and 
close in there. They took me over where some other [pro- American] 
boys w^ere. It was crowded in the estufa; the cacique, war chiefs, 
and all the medicine men were there. Jose Poacanti, the acting 
governor, was talking in a loud voice about moving Kawecnima 
[mythical mountain of the north where Cakak, the supernatural who 
sends snow, lives. Sometimes identified with Mt. Taylor]. Some 
young men had been asking such questions as, "How can medicine 
men make dead people alive?" and other skeptical questions. Jose 
Poacanti was talking about tlie powers of the medicine men and 
about moving this mountain."^ 

I sat down by the ladder. Some people said to the little officers, 
"Why don't you make them come into the middle?" and, "Wliy don't 
you make them kneel down?" The Bickales made us go out into 
the middle of the estufa. Then the old men asked us if we had said 
this and that. Then Jose Poacanti took a big Mexican-made horse- 
whip and began to whip us. There were about 20 or 30 of us. Jose 
would strike first one and then another. Then they made us kneel 
down. Some men pulled up our shirts and Jose Poacanti whipped 
us on our bare backs. He was [insane] when he was doing 
this; he was foaming at the mouth. After they whipped us they 
asked us if we would go to kiva, make prayer sticks, dance katsina, 
etc. I didn't say anything. My two sanawc [mother's brothers] 
were there. They tried to persuade me to go the old way. In fact. 

" Medicine men sometimes perform marvelous "feats" of magic to demonstrate their 
powers. (See White, 1932. pp. 122-124.) 

Anxhkop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — ^WHITE 333 

one of my saiiawe was one of the men who had reported my leaning 
toward American ways to the medicine men. 

This went on all night and all the next day. After all the boys 
accused of pro-American ways had been brought into the estufa in 
the afternoon, the war chief had ordered the ladder to be pulled up 
so no one could leave. We stayed in there all evening, all that night, 
and all the next day. 

After they got through whipping us, Jose asked us, "How is it 
going to be — good? Huh?" Then the war chief made a long talk; 
then the cacique, then the heads of the medicine societies, then each 
medicine man.^^ They all said, "We've got to be one people, believe 
in the medicine men, in the katsina, etc." They all cried [wept] 
for pity. 

That evening they let us go home. When I got home my mother, 
her sisters and brothers cried. They formed a group with me in 
the middle with their arms around each other and wept. My mother 
cried so loud. Then I began to cry. I didn't cry in the estufa, but 
now I felt sorry for my mother and her brothers and sisters. My 
back was raw and bleeding. My mother put lard on it to help it heal. 
I couldn't sleep for 3 nights. Afterward the skin peeled off my 
back in strips.^^ 

After that I used to go to the estufa, make prayer sticks, dance 
in the katsina dances, and take part in their ways. None of my 
brothers or cousins had been whipped. But they never scolded me 
or made fun of me. Some time after the whipping, I went out to 
sheejD camp ; I used to stay out in sheep camp a lot. I didn't know 
which way to go [i. e., whether to stay Indian or become Christian- 
American]." I used to read the Bible a lot. I let my hair grow 
long. I carried corn meal [in the leather pouch to pray with].^^ 

This was the only time they ever whipped tiie boys like that. Some 
people [James Miller, a progressive, who died about 1930, was among 
them] didn't like the way the boys were whipped. They had Jose 

^- Eighteen or twenty hours was not too much for all this speech-making. 

" During all this account the informant had made virtually no mention of his own thoughts 
and feelings. Upon being questioned directly about these, he had practically nothing to 
add. He experienced intense pain during the whipping ; he felt sorry and wept when he 
got back home, and no more. This is not to he attributed to a faulty memory, I believe, 
for the experience was profound and seemed to remain vivid in his memory. This neglect 
of the subjective phase seems to be due to a prevailing lack of habits of self-analysis among 
Pueblo Indians. 

"But the informant did not tell how he debated the question to himself. 

65 The informant was, apparently, "going both ways" at this time. Outwardly he was 
conforming to Indian ways by participating in ceremonies, letting his hair grow long, and 
by carrying a pouch of prayer meal. But, in response to a direct question, he said that 
when he prayed with the sacred meal that he prayed to God ! And he continued to read his 
Bible. He eventually became a Christian and broke with the "old ways." 


Poacanti arrested and put in prison in Albuquerque for 10 years 
[1889-99, estimated] .5« 

When he got back they had a meeting in the Komanira. Jose 
talked to them. He wept and told them he had done wrong and 
asked them not to feel mad or hard toward him, etc. x\fter that the 
old men let the younger men wear trousers, shoes, etc. They could 
advise and urge them to remain Indian, but they couldn't whip people 
any more who did lean toward American ways.^^ 

My Initiation into Kacale 

One evening my mother said to me, "The Kacale are coming to 
get you sometime this evening — after dark." My father had given 
me to the Kacale when I was a little boy ; now they were coming to 
get me to put me in [i. e., initiate me]. 

After dark two Kacale came to get me. First they prayed; then 
they led me over a "road" [a line of meal drawn on the floor] that 
they made for me. When we got to the Kacales' house they told me 
to sit down and fold my arms. They were going to get some others 
[to be initiated]. One of the head Kacale was a Flint medicine man. 
After all of the boys to be initiated had been brought in, the head 
Kacale told us why we were there, what we would have to do, etc. 

Then three Kacale started making the meal painting. They brought 
all their things — honani, medicine bowls, beads, fetiches, hawk-tail 
feathers, etc. — and arranged them on the altar. The head Kacale 
took some yakatca [red ocher] and put a spot on the head and breast 
[in the region of solar plexus] of each one of us. They then 
began to sing. Tliey brought us up to the altar. The head Kacale 
dipped the hawk-tail feathers into the medicine bowl and sprinkled 
all of us, the altar and everything. There was one old lady Kacale 
there; she brushed our hair. Then they sang Ga-cp2-ti songs until 
almost midnight, when we went home. 

We had to go to their house each night for 4 consecutive nights. 
On the third night they gave us the mush to drink.^^ After we had 
drunk the nnish, they gave us a cigarette which they lighted from 

^' Jos6 was only the willing hand with which the priests and medicine men wielded the 

s^This episode is characteristic of the career of Pueblo culture subjected to the inroads 
of American culture. Two factions — pro-American and anti-American — develop and be- 
come more di.stinct and antagonistic as time passes. (See Parsons, 1939, p. 1132 ff.l 

In 1931 an Acoma Indian woman told a U. S. Senate subcommittee, during a di.^cussion 
of political factions at Acoma : " 'I am with the nm.lority. I am supposed to be a reac- 
tionary.' Senator Bratton : 'You are a reactionary?' Mrs. Lola Garcia: 'Yes. sir; that 
is what they call me.' " The other "party," the minority, she called the "Progressives." 
Hearing before a Subcommittee of tbe Comraittee on Indian Affairs, U. S. Senate, pt. 19. 
p. 10160. Washington. 1932. (See also White, 1932, pp. 61-62.) 

■s^This mush is a mixture of corn meal and water in which are mixed the nastiest, most 
repugnant things they can think of. (See White, 1932, p. 100.) 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 82] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA WHITE 335 

a stick of glowing [dead] cactus wood. We smoked. On the fourth 
night the head Kacale brought us some wanani ^^ [prayer feather 
bunches]. We went out to the east with them singing this song: 

I am going to ask 

Ye-a, ye-a : 

I am going to ask. 

I am going 

Toward the east 

On the shell trail 

Toward the east 

Where the water of life lies 

Where the sun rises 

Bringing life, he.nlth, ;uid happiness 

To the earth. 

When we got to the eastern edge of the mesa we prayed, "got the 
breath," and went back to the Kacale house. When we got back the 
Kacale swept up the meal-painting and put their things away. They 
put the meal away in corn husks and stored them away. We used 
them afterward in the estufa to make "roads" every morning and 
evening. On the fifth night we started to get ready for the nakats 
[scalp] ceremony. (See White, 1932, pp. 98-101.) 

A Hunting Trip 

After I got back from school, in the fall of 1887, they were going 
to have a hunting trip. They w^ere going to go down south of Acoma 
to hunt antelope and deer. Seventy-four hunters went in this party. 
They took 4 men to cook for them and 8 men to herd the burros. 
They took lots of burros along to bring back the meat. I went along 
as interpreter. My sanawe [mother's brother] brought 2 gims with 
him when he came back from California. He let me use one of them. 

We went down south to a place called Ho-'ck'anytk'o-t (the Mexicans 
call it Datil). A white man was living there. There was a post- 
office, too. We asked for permission to camp there, near a spring. 
"All right, but don't camp too close," he told us. So we camped 
there. The burro tenders built a big corral for the burros and our 
horses. The cooks built a fire and cooked an antelope for our supper. 

The war chief told us that we should all be in camp that evening, 
as we were to sing our hunting songs. After supper, the boys built 
a big fire. The war chief put down two honani [corn-ear fetiches], 
one belonged to the cacique (who did not come) and one belonged to 
a medicine man who was in the party. Each hunter had a caiyaik ^° 

^ These had something to do with the Opi, but Just what the connection is I did not learn. 
The Opi are very close to the Koshare. (See White, 1932, pp. 97-101; Stirling, 1942, 
p. 87, ftn. 87.) 

e^A stone animal fetich representing a mountain lion. Medicine men who have power 
over game animals are called caiyaik. Birds and beasts of prey are the "real" caiyailc, how- 
ever, and, among these, the mountain lion Is foremost. (See Stirling, 1942, p. 23.) 


in a buckskin bag, together with corn meal, beads, etc. The hunters 
put their fetiches down in front of the honani. They all sang hunting 
songs until about midnight. 

At daylight everyone was up, and as soon as they had eaten they 
started out to hunt. The hunters wore an antelope costume : a stuffed 
antelope head worn on the head, the face painted, and maybe some 
kind of shirt to make them look like antelope. I went out with my 
sanawe. After we got a few miles from camp we saw lots of ante- 
lope — like a big herd of sheep. The hunters killed 744 on that one 
day. One man killed 34 by himself. Wlien a man shot one, he didn't 
stop to skin it but went on and killed some more. After the first 
day they started skinning the antelope and cutting up the meat to dry. 

When a man would start to skin an antelope he would take out his 
heart and dip his caiyaik in its blood to feed him ; then he would put 
the fetich back in his pouch. If the antelope were female, the 
hunter would take out her stomach, cut it open, and then place her 
vulva in the stomach and sprinkle them with pollen. If the antelope 
were male, his penis and testicles were similarly placed in the stomach 
and sprinkled with pollen. Deer are treated in the same way. No 
meal is put in the animal's mouth. 

We stayed out there about 2 weeks. We spent a lot of time cutting 
up the meat and drying it. We hunted a little, too, but we didn't 
kill much after the first day. Wlien we were about ready to leave 
we found we didn't have enough burros to carry the meat, so the 
war chief sent some boys back to Acoma to get some more. 

While we were waiting for the burros we used to hunt. One day 
I was out in the hills with a man. He was a Kapina tcaianyi. Late 
in the afternoon we came to a small hill. We sat down to rest for a 
while. "I'll go down this way and you go that way," my partner 
told me, "and we'll meet down there." "All right," I said. So he 
went away. I sat there for a while. Pretty soon I heard something 
coming, making cracking noises. It was a bear. He was eating 
acorns — you could hear him cracking them. He came up close, but 
he didn't see me. I was scared. I had never seen a live bear before. 
I didn't know what to do, whether to run away or shoot the bear. 
Finally I shot the bear. She jumped up high in the air and ran 
around. I ran away as hard as I could. I called to my partner, or 
to anyone who might be near. My partner came running up. "I 
shot a bear," I told him. "Where? Did you shoot him good?" 
"I don't know." 

Then we began to trail the bear; every now and then we'd find a 
spot of blood. Sometimes the bear lay down to rest. After a long 
time we overtook her ; she was lying down in a sort of a cave. I was 
still scared. "I'm going to shoot her again," I said. "No!" my 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — ^WHITE 337 

partner told me. He took a long pole and poked the bear. I had 
my gun ready, but she didn't move. She was dead. My shot had 
hit her in the back and gone through her liver and lungs. 

Then we started to skin her. My partner told me not to skin below 
the bear's "elbow." I asked him if we were going to take off the 
ma-ci'nyi.*^^ "Yes." We skinned her. Under her skin she had a 
thick coat of fat. Then my partner took out the bear's stomach. 
Then he started to take out her heart. He told me to go away. I 
could not see what he did with the heart and stomach. Those 
tcaianyi alone know how to do those things; nobody else can watch 
them. After a while he called me and told me to come. The heart 
and stomach were gone.^^ 

We cut the bear up. She was greasy and vei-y heavy. We took 
only the skin and two pieces of ribs back to camp. The medicine 
man began to cure the macinyi. He would fill them with hot sand 
to dry them out. He stuffed grass in them before we left. The next 
morning we went after the rest of the bear. Bear meat is good to 
eat. It's just like fresh pork. 

The boys had returned from Acoma with the burros, so we packed 
up our meat and started back. When we got home I gave the bear 
skin to a Fire medicine man [his father, we recall, had been head 
of this society]. He would use it to cover a stool for the Opi to 
sit on in the nakats [scalp] ceremony. My partner, the Kapina 
tcaianyi, kept the macinyi. 

« Macinyi are the bear-leg skins used by Keresan medicine men in curing patients and in 
fighting witches. They are eagerly sought, as well as entire bear skins. In a Sia myth, 
Masewi and Oyoyewi, the war god twins, killed a bear and skinned hhn in the same manner 
as this medicine man did — removing the skin from the paws, with claws attached, and 
cutting them off from the rest of the skin (Stevenson, 1894, p. 47). Taos Indians usually 
sell the bears they kill to the Domingo Indians or to some other Keresan people. (Evidence 
that Taos people, as they say, have no bear medicine. — E. C. P.) 

"^ The bear is the most important of the animal supernaturals from whom the medicine 
men receive their power. (See White, 1932, p. 110, ftn. 2.) 


A long time ago the people lived down at the bottom of the Acoma 
mesa on the south side. There was one man named Kowai'cotcroro.®* 
He was the best hunter of them all. He used to trap deer and ante- 
lope; he always killed lots of deer. He was a good man, but the 
people did not like him. But he always treated them very nice. 
Whenever they came to ask for meat Kowaicotcroro's wife always 
gave them some. Then Kowaicotcroro took his wife and family — 
they had some daughters and one son — and went to Tsi'a'ma to live. 
Tsiama was southwest of Acoma. 

Kowaicotcroro's son was named Basityiimuti (Bushy Hair Youth). 
He was a brave youth. He wore very ugly clothes and an ugly mask. 
Whenever he went out he always wore this mask. But wlien he 
came back home he would take it off. 

Then Kowaicotcroro died. Basityainuti and his mother were all 
alone. No one liked Basityamuti because he was so ugly. When 
they had katsina dances at Acoma, Basityamuti and his mother 
always used to go and watch the dances, but they never talked to 
anyone because the people did not like them. Basityamuti was 
always lucky with his crops; he always had plenty of corn, beans, 
and pumpkins. The other people did not always have enough food. 
Sometimes they would go to Basityamuti and ask him for some food. 
He always gave them some. Sometimes they would come to trade 
buckskins, mantas, etc., for food; Basityamuti always had lots of 
these, and beads, too. 

Basityamuti's father and mothci- believed very much in the 
katsina. At each meal "^ the mother would take a little bowl and 

■" These Acoma tales were recorded in 1934 from the same informant from whom the 
variants were recorded in 1928 by Mr. Stirling. The first tale, Bushy Hair Youth, was 
not told Stirling as part of the Origin myth except perhaps as an afterthought, and so 
Stirling's version has been included here as a variant of the tale told in 1934. The second 
tale of pursuit by the ghost girl was also told Stirling and was included in the Origin 
myth, just as its Zuiii parallel is included in the Emergence myth of Zufii; hut the ghost 
girl tale was given White as an independent tale. The variability or flexibility of the 
narrative art of the Pueblos has been commented upon repeatedly ; in these tales as told 
by the same person at different times we have another example. — E. C. P. 

•* This is the name of a dart which is thrown, in a game, at pumpkins. The main piece 
and shaft is a corn cob. It has a sharp pointed stick in one end and two feathers in the 
other. (See Stirling, 1942, pi. 16, a.) 

** Informant's note : "At this time the people used to eat a late breakfast and then only 
one other meal a day." 



put a bit of each kind of food into it. Then she would go up on 
the roof. She would stand facing Wenima, where the katsina live, 
and pray to them for anything that she wanted to get. Then she 
would put some guayaves [wafer bread] in the drain trough and 
then pour the stew, or whatever she had, onto the guayaves. 
Basityamuti and his mother never knew whether this food ever got 
to the katsina at Wenima or not. But they believed in them [i. e., 
the katsina] so much in their hearts that they always offered them 
food in this way. This is the way they lived. 

Tsatyao hotcanyi [the war chief] lived in Acoma. He had four 
daughters. Three of them were married. There was only one left. 
She was the prettiest one of all. All the people liked her. Lots of 
young men asked her to marry them. Cakak"^ and other spirits 
used to bring all kinds of clothes for her and for her mother and 
father and try to marry her. Her parents used to say, "All right, 
we accept you, but I don't know what our daughter will say." Then 
the man would ask the daughter to marry him. She would say, "I 
like you all right, but I don't know what my sister will say. Come 
in this room and we will ask her." So she would take the man in 
the next room. She had an abalone shell fixed in the plaster on the 
wall. Down below, on the floor, was a pile of corn meal covered with 
a white manta. "Take some corn meal," the girl would tell the 
suitor, "and throw it against mj' sister [i. e., the shell]. If she 
accepts you the meal will stick to the shell, but if she does not, the 
meal will fall to the floor." All of the men would try but always 
the meal would fall to the floor instead of sticking to the shell. So 
the girl would not marry them. So the men would take their 
presents back and go home.*^^ 

Now Basityamuti decided that he would try to marry the war 
chief's daughter. He began to prepare, to make all the presents 
that he would need for the girl's father and mother and for the girl. 
He worked on these for a long time. His mother used to ask him 
what he was doing. "I am getting ready to marry Tsatyao 
hotcanyi's daughter," he would say. "What is the use of trying?" 
his mother would ask. "Many men have tried to get her — even Cakak, 
even Maiyotcuna ^^ — and they can't do it." "But I am going to get 
her," Basityamuti would say. 

Finally Basityamuti had everything ready. Then one day he set 
out. He told his mother to wait for the girl to come back with 
him. "All right ! I'll be waiting," she said. Basityamuti went to 
the pueblo and through the middle of the plaza. All the people saw 

^o The spirit of tlie Nortli. 

'^^ For meal test, compare Zimi, KeuPdict, 1935, p. 182 ff., p. 377. 

«» The spirit of the South. 


him coming. They all laughed at him and made fun of him. 
Basityamuti got to the war chief's house. He stood at the bottom 
of the ladder for a while; maybe he was praying. Then he went 
up. "Kaiya! I'm coming," he snid, "Let me come in." "Yes; come 
in I" the war chief called out. Basityamuti went in. He laid his 
bundle on the floor and began to talk. He asked for the girl. The 
mother and father said all right. The girl was in the next room. They 
called her in. She spoke pleasantly to Basityamuti. "Yes," she said, 
"I'll accept you if you have everything for my father and mother and 
for me to wear." Basityamuti undid his bundle and started to hand 
out the presents, "This is for you, Naicdia [father]," he said, "and 
this for you, Naiya [mother]." And he gave tlie girl her presents. 
Everything was complete. 

So then the girl said, "All right, Basityamuti, you have everything 
that is necessary. But I will marry you only if my sister is willing." 
Then the girl took Basityamuti into the next room where the shell 
was. She told him to tlirow some corn meal against the shell. 
"If my sister is willing for you to marry me the meal will stick to 
the shell," she said. Basityamuti threw the meal onto the shell. 
It stuck. The girl took the meal off the shell and put it into her 
basket of meal. Then she took her basket of meal in to her mother 
and told her mother and father that she was going to marry Basitya- 
muti. They were glad. "All right! I'm so glad you have ac- 
cepted him," they said. 

Then the girl's mother got a big basket. On one side she put 
inawi (corn flour) and on the other side she put ckaiotsa hati ^'^ and 
itya hati (made of prickly pear cactus). (Wlien a girl took a 
basket like this to a boy's mother and father it meant a marriage.) 
Then Basityamuti went out to go back to his home. The girl fol- 
lowed. When the girl had gone down the ladder two steps she 
paused and her mother put the basket on her head on a mackvtc.'* 
Basityamuti went back to his home followed by the war chief's 

It was almost noon when Basityamuti and the girl got to his 
home. Basityamuti's mother saw them coming. She was very glad. 
When Basityamuti got to the foot of the ladder he stopped and called 
up, "Dmyi" ! Upstairs!" "Hc-o!" his mother answered. She came 
out. "My son, are you bringing the girl?" she said. "Yes." 
Basityamuti went up the ladder. The girl followed. Basityamuti's 
mother came close to the ladder. Wlien the girl got to the top, 
Basityamuti's mother took the heavy basket off her head and took 

* See p. 349. 

•"^Ring of plant fiber placed on head to carry a heaTy water Jar or basket. (See Stirling, 
1942, pi. 9. fig. 2.) 


it inside the house; she set it down on the north side next to the 
doorway. Basityamuti went in the house and into an inside room. 
After Basityamuti's mother had put the basket of meal down she 
went to the girl. She hugged her and said, "You are my siyai 
[relative by marriage] ; I am so happy that you have come 
to live with us." ^^ Then Basityamuti came out. He had taken off 
his mask and his old ragged clothes. The girl did not recognize 
him. He came up to her and embraced her. The girl was scared. 
She thought she was doing wrong to let him hug her. But Basitya- 
muti told her not to be afraid. "I only wear that mask and those 
old clothes when I go out every day," he said. Then he took her 
into the inside room and showed them to her. The girl was relieved 
when she saw them. She laughed. "This is my costume," Basitya- 
muti said. Basityamuti was very handsome. His skin was very fair 
because it was always covered up — no sunshine on him. The girl 
was so happy because she had such a handsome husband. 

Meanwhile Basityamuti's mother had taken a handful of each kind 
of meal and put them into her little bowl. She went up onto the 
roof and offered the meal to the katsina at Wenima. When she 
came back she got dinner ready and they ate — deer meat. 

The girl lived there happily with Basityamuti and his mother. 
The people at the pueblo did not like it. They talked about ^^ her 
and about Basityamuti too. When the girl's father, Tsatyao 
hotcanyi, would go to the kiva the men would tease him about his 
son-in-law. He didn't like it. He got so that he did not like to 
go to the kiva any more. 

Basityamuti used to hunt. Wlien he would get a deer he and 
his wife would take some of the meat to the pueblo for the Tsatyao 
hotcanyi. Basityamuti always wore his mask and his old clothes 
when he went out. The girl never had said anything about him 
wearing a mask so no one knew about it. One day when Basityamuti 
and his wife had gone to the Tsatyao hotcanyi's house to take him 
some meat he told them about how the men had been talking about 
them and how they had been teasing him about Basityamuti. He 
said that it made him feel very bad to have the people talking about 
them like that. "Don't feel like that," the girl told him, "I've 
got a very handsome husband and he is very nice to me." Then the 
girl asked Basityamuti to take off his mask and his old clothes. 
When he had done this, they saw he was a very handsome man. 
Tsatyao hotcanyi and his wife hugged Basityamuti, they were so 

" The old custom was for the man to live with the bride in her house, but the reverse is 
here necessary to the story. 

" No one likes to be "talked about." Pueblo Indians are extremely sensitive about it. 


glad. "That's just liis costume," the girl told her parents, "When 
he comes inside he takes them off." 

The men kept teasing the Tsatyao hotcanyi about his son-in-law. 
But he never said anything about the mask and the costume. Now 
the men in the kiva began to plan for a dance. They were going to 
have a katsina dance; two kivas were going to dance. They were 
going to have all kinds of fruit. They were going to make melons 
of buckskin and paint them to look real to throw to the people. The 
men were making a plan to make the girl ashamed of Basityamuti 
so that she would leave him. They were going to try to humiliate 
Basityamuti by requiring something of him at the dance that he 
could not do. Then the girl would get so ashamed of him that she 
would leave him. That's the way they planned. They told Tsatyao 
hotcanyi to tell Basityamuti what might happen to him. Tsatyao 
hotcanyi got scared. He urged Basityamuti to do his best so his 
wife would not be ashamed of him. Basityamuti became worried. 
He wondered what he could do at the dance — ^liow he could dress, 
how he might sing and dance, what he could throw to the people. He 
worried. He couldn't sleep well. 

Basityamuti went out hunting. He was going to get a lot of meat 
to throw to the people. He was very sad. He hunted for 3 days 
but could not kill a thing. On the fourth day, early in the morning, 
he was out on a mesa toward the west, hunting. He met a katsina. 
But he did not see him, as he had his head down. The katsina spoke 
to Basityamuti: "Samuti [my son], are you out hunting?" "Yes," 
Basityamuti said. "You are not going to hunt today," the katsina 
told him; "I have come to take you to Wenima. The katsina hotcanyi 
has sent me to get you." It was early in the morning. Basityamuti 
said, "All right, I will go with you." The katsina had an arrow 
of ocBiorots' ^^ (cane, bamboo). He took the arrowhead off. Then 
he told Basityamuti to sit down. He put the end of the hollow 
arrow shaft on Basityamuti's head and sucked him inside. Then he 
put the arrowhead back on and shot the arrow toward the west. 
The katsina followed the arrow, running. The katsina shot the 
arrow toward the west four times. When the arrow came down the 
fourth time it was at Wenima — near the village. The katsina came 
up and let Basityamuti out of the arrow shaft. Then the katsina 
led him through the fields into the village, to the plaza and then to 
the kiva where all the katsina were waiting for them. 

The katsina and Basityamuti went up the ladder on top of the 
kiva. The katsina gave Basityamuti some advice about what to say 

■"Boas translates oya'cpi'rt;ts' "reed whistle" (Boas, 1928, pt. 2,. p. 332, line 2). Reed 
grass (Fhragmltes communis) and "cane" {Aruiido donaw) are sometimes called "bamboo" 
in the Southwest at the present time. The former is indigenous ; the latter of European 

Anthkop. Tap. No. 3li] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA WHITE 343 

when he got inside. At the entrance to the kiva the katsina called 
out, "We are coming in!" "All right! Come in!'' They went in. 
There were lots of different kinds of katsina there. They gave 
Basityamuti a stool to sit on and had him sit in the middle of the 
kiva. The katsina hotcanyi [chief] came over and sat close to him. 
Katsina hotcanyi told Basityamuti that the katsina knew all about 
what was happening to him back at Acoma. They knew about how 
the people talked about him and planned against him. They knew 
about how the people teased his father-in-law and how they wanted 
to have his wife leave him. "We don't like that," katsina hotcanyi 
told Basityamuti. "We like you very much," he said, "because you 
have always remembered us and have sent us food every time you 
had your meal. So we are going to help you so that those people will 
not get the best of you. We will give you everytliing you need." 

Basityamuti sat up straight. He was so happy to hear this. "Now 
we are going to give you eight songs which you are to sing in the 
kiva at the dance," the katsina hotcanyi told him. Then they gave 
him eight songs. Basityamuti learned these songs, just the way 
the katsina wanted him to sing them. Some of the songs were beau- 
tiful and there were some sad ones. Then the katsina made a mask 
for Basityamuti, a very beautiful mask, more beautiful than any of 
the katsina. Some of the katsina brought in some sweet corn, roasted 
(tsatcrvc), four ears of each kind. They also brought in peaches, 
melons, and all kinds of nice clothes for himself and for his wife. 
They told Basityamuti to wear these fine clothes when he danced but 
to throw them to the people when the dance was over. His wife was 
to do the same. 

"Now we are going to put this corn, melons, peaches, and clothes 
into a bundle for you to take back to your home," the katsina told 
Basityamuti. "Wlien you get home go into the fourth room and 
untie the bundle and take the things out." So they made up the 
bundle. About this time Basityamuti's mother was having supper 
at home. She went up on the roof as usual to pray and to offer food 
to the katsina. The food went to Wenima at once and came into the 
kiva where Basityamuti was. Basityamuti saw it for himself. "Here 
is the food that your mother has sent us," katsina hotcanyi said to 
Basityamuti. Then the katsina began to eat. Basityamuti and the 
katsina ate all they wanted and there was still some food left. 

Now it was time for Basityamuti to go back home. Katsina hotcanyi 
told the katsina who had brought him to take him back. Basityamuti 
took up his little bundle and got ready to leave. He made a speech to 
katsina hotcanyi and all of the katsina. He told them how happy he 
was that they had brought him to Wenima, how grateful he was to 
them for their help, and how much he appreciated it. "I will remem- 


ber you all the rest of my life," he told them. Then he asked for per- 
mission to go. Katsina hotcanyi gave him permission. "We will be 
waiting here to see how you come out," he told Basityamuti, "to see 
how you are going to win out over those people." Basityamuti and the 
katsina left the kiva. The katsina put Basityamuti in the arrow shaft 
and shot him as before. Pretty soon they were near Basityamuti's 
home. The katsina let him out of the arrow shaft. Basityamuti 
thanked the katsina and said goodbye to him. Tlien he went on to 
his home. 

Basityamuti got to his home before sundown. He was smiling, 
happy. His wife asked him why he looked so happy. Basityamuti 
went inside and took off his mask. Then he went into the inside room, 
into the fourth room. He told his wife to come in with him. "And 
you, too, naiya," he said to his mother. They went inside the fourth 
room with him. Basityamuti told his wife and mother that he had 
been in Wenima that day and had spent the day with the katsina. His 
wife and mother got scared. "Don't be afraid," Basityamuti told 
them. Then he told them about how he had met the katsina while 
out hunting and how the katsina had taken him to Wenima. He told 
them about how he had gone into the kiva where all the katsina were 
sitting and how they had told him about the people's plans to injure 
him, and how they were going to help him. Then he showed his mother 
and wife the little bundle of things that the katsina had given him. 
His mother undid the bundle and started to take the corn, melons, 
peaches, and clothes out. As she took them out they multiplied many 
fold. The mother put them in piles on the floor. Basityamuti told 
his wife and mother about how the food that his mother had offered 
to the katsina came into the kiva while he was there and how it was 
more than enough for all of them. The mother and daughter were 
delighted. They were so glad that the katsina were going to help 
Basityamuti win out over those people. And they were glad to know 
that the food that they sent to the katsina really got there. 

Basityamuti began to get ready for the dance. He practiced his 
songs and got his costume and food ready. His mother and wife were 
to dance with him. They got their costumes ready, too. 

The night of the dance came. Tsatyao hotcanyi came to Basitya- 
muti's house and asked him how he wanted it. Basityamuti said, 
"Let them dance first. Then we will go out from here [to the kiva 
for our dance]." Tsatyao hotcanyi saw the pile of fresh corn and 
fruit. Basityamuti told him about how he had gone to Wenima and 
about how the katsina were going to help him and how they had given 
him this fruit. Tsatyao hotcanyi was kind of scared. He wondered 
what kind of a man Basityamuti was. Basityamuti let the war chief 
eat all the fruit and corn that he wanted. Then Tsatyao hotcanyi 
went back to his home. He was very happy. 


That night all the people went to the big kiva to see the dance. 
The men dancers came in. They were dressed like katsina. They 
danced ver}' well. They had their imitation fruit and melons, made 
of buckskin and painted, which they threw to the people. They 
danced twice, then they went out of the kiva. Then Basityamuti 
and his wife and mother came. He was dressed like Kanatca katsina 
and talked like him. The people heard him coming. He got to the 
top of the kiva. They asked him to come in (by shaking their 
rattles) . Basityamuti went in, his wife and mother came after him. 
They were carrying lots of corn, melons, and fruit in big baskets. As 
soon as they got in the kiva the odor of the fresh sweet corn spread 
around as if it had just come out of the oven. They put their 
baskets down and started to dance. The people crowded around. 
Other people stood up so they could see. After the first dance, 
Basityamuti began to throw his presents to the people. He kept 
on throwing his gifts until some people had more than they could 
carry and still there were tilings left in the baskets. Then Basitya- 
muti and his wife and mother began taking off their fine clothes 
and throwing them to the people. Some of the dancers who had 
gone out before Basityamuti came in, came back to watch. Then 
they went out and got the rest of the dancers to come in and watch 
Basityamuti. The dancers became ashamed and wanted to quit. 
One of the tcukacac hotcanyi [little chiefs] was sent to Basityamuti 
to tell liini that the other dancers vrere not coming back and that 
he would have to finish. Basityamuti was willing. He did his best. 
He went back to his home and brought more fresh corn, fruit, melons, 
buckskins, and beads. Each time he came back he used another 
song that the katsina had given him. Then he would distribute 
more presents to the people. He did this all night. Then it was 
all over. 

From that time the people respected Basityamuti. Wlien his 
father-in-law died the people made him war chief. Basityamuti 
came back to live in the pueblo. He continued to wear his old 
clothes and his ugly mask, but the people never made fun of him 
any more. Basityamuti and his wife raised some children. Every- 
body liked the children because they thought that Basityamuti was 
some kind of a spirit. 

Variant " 

A war chief had two daughters. The youngest was liked by every- 
body. All the young men wanted her for wife. They went to her 
home to tvj to win her love by bringing presents of clothes for her 
and for her father and mother and other sister. The man would 
bring these and say to the girl, "I bring you these presents because 

" Recorded by M. W. Stirling in 1928. 
435660 — 43 23 


I love you and because I am interested in you." It happened that 
she had a large shell (wapuni', "abalone") which was plastered on 
one of the walls of her home and when a man came she always 
answered him by saying, "I will not consent yet, let us ask my sister 
(the shell). If she consents then I consent also. If this corn meal, 
when 3'ou throw it, sticks on the shell, it means that she consents." 
So she gave some of the meal in a bowl and the man would take 
some and throw it against the shell and she would look to see if 
any stuck on. Many tried and failed. 

There was one very poor man, who lived at a distance. His name 
Avas Kasev»'at.^^ He alwaj^s wore an ugly mask and clothes when he 
went out and was the joke of the town. The people would joke 
with the girl saying, "You will marry Kasewat." But in the house 
with his mother he would take it off. But every one knew he was a 
great hunter. This man was a great friend of the katsina. He got 
everything from the katsina, clothes etc., complete for every member 
of the girl's household. As her father was war chief he required 
extra things, like a quiver and certain kinds of bows and arrows. 
He was instructed by the katsina, so one day he went out hunting. 
He was a fine hunter. 

While out on the hunt he was met suddenly by a katsina. He was 
frightened, for it was the first time he had ever met a katsina. The 
katsina asked him, "Are you hunting?" He said, "Yes." So the 
katsina said, "Leave your hunt. You are not to hunt today, as I 
have been sent to bring you to Wenimats, the home of the katsina, 
to the chief katsina." Though afraid, he consented to go. The 
katsina told him to come and stand in front of him. This katsina 
had arrows made of reeds. He placed one over the top of his head 
and sucked him into the arrow. The katsina let this arrow fly in 
the direction from which he came. The katsina recovered it and let 
it fly four times before it reached the place. The fourth time it 
landed just at the boundary of the eastern fields of Wenimats. Then 
the katsina blew him out of the arrow. The katsina instructed him 
to follow. 

There were many other katsina on guard in the fields and they 
played with Kasewat in passing and his guide told him not to fear. 
They went in a western direction. There were many wonderful 
things growing in the field. The trail was laid with abalone shell. 
They finally came to a kiva (kaach; in the ground). They said the 
name of the chief katsina was Tsitsanits. He was the father in the 

''Cf. White, 1932, pp. 172-180, where Kasewat is associated with Flint Wing and a 
giantess. The Laguna Flint Wing story has as hero pasts'mi'ty', "Shock-of-Hair- Youth" 
(Boas, 1928, pt. 1, pp. 111-118). 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA WHITE 347 

kiva. Wlien they arrived at this hole the katsina yelled down the 
hole saying, "Down below, I have brought Kasewat. Will he be 
allowed to enter?" They answered, "Yes, let him come down." So 
the katsina who brought Kasewat told him, "When you get to the 
bottom say, 'Koatsi (how do you do !) , mothers and your spirits. You 
are passing this far in a day.' When you get to the bottom go to 
the right, to a dua'watsi'ish shrine and pray, spreading corn." Kase- 
wat did as instructed and after finishing his prayer he saw many 
katsina sitting around waiting for him. 

One of them stood up and caught him by both hands. Along the 
north side of the room the floor was laid with turquoise and there 
was a loose bear skin laid out there where he was told to sit. After 
he was seated the leader sat in front of him and asked him, "Have 
you come, my son?" He said, "Yes." "I have called you here be- 
cause you love her [the war chief's daughter]. Every day we get 
an offering from you of food. Every time you sit down to eat you 
have offered us part of your food, which we have always received. 
All of this food you have raised or killed yourself. We have always 
been thinking of you and we know that you are thinking of wanting 
this girl. We think of helping you because you have been single 
and have been living poorly. We want you to have her and so we 
will help you if you wish. We are going to tell you how to win her. 
We are going to give you complete clothes for all of them in her 
house and for herself. You know many men ha\'e come to her house, 
but they all always left out the uaishtiakayani "^ which symbolizes 
the rainbow, the rainbow which won the first w^oman in the world at 
Shipapu. This will be included in the gifts you are to take to her. 
This is the reason we have called you here." They put all the clothes 
etc. in a bundle for Kasewat and told him to go there. "I am also 
going to give you some herbs; blow them in the direction of the 
pueblo. I will teach you a song which you are to sing : 

Today I will be lucky 

Here comes a bird boy (himself). 

The girl in the east, 

I have come to bring gifts 

With which to stir your emotions and heart. 

(Repeat four times.)" 

Kasewat started home. He repeated the song over and over till 
he got to the south end of the village. The herb he was to chew 
was to move the emotions of the whole family of the girl. The war 
chief told his daughter that someone great was to visit them, "So 
when anyone comes, welcome him. I have noticed that you have 
never felt much regard for anyone coming to call on you." The 

"Wonjan's hair frame. (See Stirling, 1942, pi. 13, flg. 1.) 


girl did not say anything. As soon as Kasewat got to the east end 
of the village, he spit the medicine. He woke them up. Wlien he 
stepped into the plaza many people saw him and they laughed at 
him and made fun of him because they knew he was going to this 
girl's house as a suitor. Some of them told him, "You will have 
no luck, for a man that looks like you would never be wanted in any 
house." He paid no attention. 

Kasewat went home. When he got there his mother felt pity for 
her son and said, "You did not kill any game today." He answered 
and said, "I did not hunt as I went out to do this morning. A 
katsina took me to Wenimats." His mother was much excited but 
he did not tell her what happened there until the next day. Then 
he told her, "I am going after a maiden, the war chief's youngest 
daughter." The mother said, "I sympathize with you, as I do not 
think the girl will like you. Do not think of doing such a thing." 
But Kasewat insisted and told his mother not to worry but to wait 
for the girl. The mother had much faith in her son, so she believed 
him and started to prepare a meal for the couple. She let her son 
go, saying, "I will wait for you both in a happy mood." So Kase- 
wat set out for the war chief's house. 

He came to the foot of the war chief's house, he said, "Dini" 
(upstairs, upper rooms). The oldest daughter came out. She said 
"Yes." "Am I allowed to come up?" The girl said, "Yes; come 
up." He came up and greeted them, "Koatsi, saochanyi, my oiScer 

So the war chief welcomed him, told him to be seated, and asked him 
if there was anything he could do for him. Kasewat said, "Yes. I 
came in like a man who doesn't obey rules (like a criminal), but I 
came in because I want to ask for your younger daughter. I want 
to ask if you will give her to me to live with." So the war chief 
said, "There she sits, if she wants it is for her to say." The girl 
thought a moment and said, "I guess so, but have you brought a 
complete clothing outfit for my father, mother, sister, and for my- 
self?" Kasewat said, "Yes, I have brought what I think is complete 
for all of 3^ou." 

His bundle was very small and did not seem to have much, but 
when he untied it, it was large ; so he sorted out the presents to each, 
placing the presents of each in separate groups. After he finished 
the last, the war chief's pile, he laid a quiver made of lion skin that 
was very new. War chief noticed that this had never been brought 
by other men. On the top of the girl's pile Kasewat laid the rainbow 
comb. They were all interested. The war chief stood up and said, 
"Look at what he has brought me," holding up the quiver and putting 
it on. The girl was very glad and showed her gladness for the 
first time by her expression. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA WHITE 349 

It was known that Kasewat always had plenty to eat, but in 
other ways he wns poor. The girl stood up and was thankful, so 
she called Kasewat into the room where the shell was placed. 
She brought some corn meal in a heap in a special basket which was 
wonderfully well made. She told Kasewat to take some and throw 
it against her "sister" (the shell). "If any sticks you are going to 
take me to your house." Kasewat took some of it and threw it 
against the shell. It all stuck to the shell. Everyone outside was 
waiting, interested to know what would happen. They expected 
him to lose. So the girl told her parents, "I guess this is the man 
I have been waiting for, for my sister has consented. I am going 
with him to his house to live VN-ith him." '^ 

She put on her clothes and gave the others their presents. It hap- 
pened that her costume fit her perfectly. So Kasewat said to the 
war chief and wife, "I am very thankful, but I do not think it is only 
by myself I have won her. I want to be thankful to the spirits be- 
cause they have caused my success. I will allow your daughter to 
v^isit you sometimes and you will always be welcome to our house, 
whenever you wish. I am going to take your daughter now." 

The girl's mother placed corn meal into a large basket, four dif- 
ferent kinds of flours. One [was] made of kashaish (white corn 
meal), [and one of] shekaiuoisa hati (meal of sweet corn, roasted in 
earth and then ground) . On the other side was hati. (Corn prepared 
by soaking corn in a pot. When it sprouts and has soaked up the water 
in the pot it sweet. It is taken out and dried in the sun, then 
gi'ound up into sweet yellowish flour.) On the fourth side was 
prickly pear meal. (Wlien ripe and soft they are picked, the thorns 
are brushed off and the seeds taken out and the meat is dried. Then 
it is ground up.) The corn and food were a return for what this 
man brought. Feather down was placed on top of this flour. This 
represented the plume on the girl's head used when she dances. 
So the girl placed a pot-rest on her head; her mother and sister 
helped her place the basket of flour on her head. After they helped 
her with the basket they said, "Let us go (nekamu) ." 

The people were much astonished to see Kasewat win out with 
the chief's youngest daughter. Some said, "So, that is the kind of a 
man that girl has been waiting for ! There have been many more 
handsome men come for her and she has turned them away." They 
v»ere surprised that she had consented to go away with Kasewat. 
When they reached the ground they started in the direction of his 
house. The girl felt embarrassed because the people were making fun 

" Today it often happens that a girl will see a man she likes and will invite him to her 
house and announce that she wants to marry him. P'ormerly the girl went to live with the 
man [according to the tales]. 


and laughing at them. In her heart she was rather sorry. But she 
decided that as her "sister" had consented she would go. 

Kasewat's mother had been waiting for them. Every once in a 
while she went out and looked in the direction she expected the two 
to come from. They finally arrived. When they reached the bottom 
of his house, Kasewat called, "Mother, I have brought you a daugh- 
ter." So she greeted both of them, "You are both welcome into 
my house. I have made an open trail with my prayers for both of 
you. This is going to be your house." When they reached the door- 
way they climbed up; the girl was helped by her mother-in-law in 
taking off her basket. The mother-in-law took the basket of flour 
into the fourth and farthest room in the house. The girl stopped in the 
first room, Kasewat went into the second room, where he took off 
his mask. Because it is customary that the daughter-in-law does not 
sit down or find a place until asked by her mother-in-law, the girl 

When the mother-in-law came back she embraced her daughter. 
(The newcomer puts his right arm over the left shoulder and the 
person greeted does the same.) This embrace is held on such an 
occasion while the mother-in-law gives a prayer. "Thank you, my 
daughter, I am very thankful that the spirits have consented by 
placing breath and thought (?) and that you have not felt ashamed 
of us. I take you in as a member of my household. From now 
I will be your mother and you will be my daughter. Druwicats." "^ 
Then the mother-in-law said, "Sit down and make yourself at 
home." The girl found it a much better house than she expected. 
She saw the floor was covered with rugs of buffalo, lion, and bear 
skins and many other skins. 

While this greeting was going on, the boy was in the next room 
taking off his every-day clothes and his mask. There was no one 
in the world who knew him without this costume. When he came 
back in the first room the girl was astonished to see one she thought 
was a stranger coming into the room. She did not know him for 
he was very handsome, but the boy said, "Don't be astonished. I 
am Kasewat (matted hair)." But she did not believe him. But 
the mother said to the daughter, "Yes; he is the one whom you 
married." To prove it they took her in the second room and showed 
her the outfit he wore outside his house. She was convinced then, 
and was very glad, and they always lived happy from then on. 

'* Informant's note : This word is like "amen," at tlie close of a prayer, or "goodbye," 
when one is leaving : "Go with a happy thought." It is only a greeting prayer like this 
that is so closed. It is used both at parting and at greeting. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATEKIAL FROM ACOMA WHITE 351 


A long time ago Masewi and liis brother Oyoyewi were verj^ power- 
ful against all kinds of animals; no animal could get the best of them. 
They were also great fighters among the people ; they would go around 
just killing people for nothing. The ckaupictaiya/'^ or great spirits 
such as Cakak, Maiyotcuna, Tspina, Tsanokai,^^ and some others — 
perhaps some katsina — did not like the way Masewi and Oyoyewi 
were doing. So they got together and held a meeting at the Middle 
of the Land (si'natdyeica haatsi). They talked about how Masewi 
and Oyoyewi were going around killing people for nothing. Then 
they thought of a plan to put a stop to this. 

Tlie ckaupictaiya sent some of their number to a graveyard and had 
them dig up the corpse of a woman and bring the body to the meet- 
ing. The spirits brought the body of an old woman to the gathering. 
She had been dead a long time and was very repulsive looking. But 
the spirits brought her back to life. They changed her into a young 
and beautiful girl. They gave her fine clothes and buckskins to wear 
and lots of beads and jewelry. Then they told her what to do. 

Upon orders from the spirits, the girl went to Acoma, She went 
up on top of the mesa to where Masewi and Oyoyewi lived, on the 
east side. She went to their house. Masewi and Oyoyewi invited 
her to come in. When they saw how beautiful she was, they invited 
her to live with them. She agreed to do this. Masewi and Oyoyewi 
each wanted to sleep with the girl. Finally the girl said, "Why can't 
we all sleep together? I will sleep in the middle." So that was the 
way they arranged it. But the boys did not sleep ; first one and then 
the other would make love to the girl. Finally they became tired and 
fell asleep. 

When the girl saw that the twins were asleep, she changed into a 
kooko. Instead of a plump, beautiful young girl she became a skinny, 
dirty, repulsive old woman. Her fine clothes changed into filthy old 
rags. After a while Masewi woke up and pulled what he thought 
was the girl over to him ; it was the kooko. Then Oyoyewi woke up 
and pulled her over to his side. They noticed in the dark that her 
body was bony. Her hair seemed to be matted with blood. One of 
the boys got up to stir the fire so he could see what was wrong. Wlien 

'0 See Stirling, 1942, p. 83 ; Zufii (Benedict, 1935, vol. 1, pp. 62 S., 289). 

»» See Stirling, 1942, p. 86. 

" Spirits of the Mountains of the Directions. (See Stirling, 1942, p. 14.) 


the fire blazed up they saw tliat it was the kooko. They scrambled to 
their feet and started to run out of the house as fast as they could go ; 
they were A^ery scared. "What is the matter?" the kooko called to 
them: "You love me, I love you. Why are you running away?" But 
the boys ran out of the house. 

Masewi and Oyoyewi left in such a hurry that they did not take their 
weapons with them. "Wliere shall we go to be safe?" one of them 
asked. They joked a little bit: "You go back and sleep with that 
girl." They could not decide where to go. Finally they decided to 
go to Kawecdima (Mount Taylor) in the north. They went to 
Cakak's house. "Who's there?" Cakak called out. "It's us, Masewi 
and Oyoyewi," they answered. Cakak and Utctsiti ^^ said to each 
other : "I bet that the kooko is after them." Then Cakak called out : 
"All right ! Come in ; lie down and sleep." So the boys went in and 
lay down exhausted. They fell asleep. Soon the kooko arrived at 
Cakak's house. "Are Masewi and Oyoyewi in there?" she called out. 
"Yes ; they are in here. Come in." The kooko came in. "Ah, there 
you are, my love," she said to the boys, "I'll lie down and sleep with 
you." But the boys woke up and dashed out of the house. 

This time Masewi and Oyoyewi went toward the west. Thej'' were 
very tired. It was daytime now, but the boys had to sleep. They 
lay down under a tree, but soon the kooko came up and they had to 
run off again. Finally, they came to Tspina's house in the west — near 
Flagstaff Mountain. They asked Tspina if they could come in. 
"Yes; come in and lie down." But no sooner were they asleep than 
the kooko came up. "Are Masewi and Oyoyewi in there?" she called 
out to Tspina. "Yes." "I want them to come out," the kooko said. 
"No. You come in here and get them j^ourself," Tspina told the 
kooko. So she went in. She tried to lie down with the war twins, 
but they jumped to their feet and rushed out of the house. 

This time they ran to the south. They were very tired and they 
had had nothing to eat. Although it was daytime, they would try to 
get a little sleep under trees. But always the kooko would come up 
and they would have to go on. Finally they came to Maiyotcuna's 
house, at Dautyuma (South Mountain). They arrived at midnight. 
"Guatzi!" Masewi called out. "Dawai-eh !" Maiyotcuna replied. 
They asked if they could come and rest. "Yes ; come in and lie down," 
Maiyotcuna told them. But again the kooko came in just as they had 
fallen asleep and drove them forth again. 

Masewi and Oj'oyewi ran toward the east. Finally, they came to 
Ktcana kot (a steep, white mountain in the east). Tsanoka lived 
here. But Tsanoka would not let Masewi and Oyo^^'ewi come in. He 

»2 See Stirliug, 1942, p. 1. 

Anthbop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — ^WHITE 353 

told them to go back to see Kaukaputcrame : *^ "Perhaps he might 
help you," Tsanoka told Masewi. So the war twins set out for the 
home of Kaukaputcrame. When the kooko arrived at Tsanoka's house 
he turned her away, too. "We can not use you here," he told her, 

Masewi and Oyoyewi returned to Acoma where Kaukaputcrame 
lived, down at the bottom of the mesa on the southwest side. The 
kooko kept following the twins. When Masewi and Oyoyewi got to 
Kaukaputcrame's house they called out "Guatzi!" "Wlio is it?" 
Kaukaputcrame asked. "Masewi and Oyoyewi." Kaukaputcrame 
asked them to come in. Masewi told him about how the kooko had 
been chasing them. "Is that so?" said Kaukaputcrame. "Well, we'll 
see what we can do." So Kaukaputcrame got out his baby's head. 
It was like a ball and full of blood. (He used this head to win from 
people when they came to gamble with him.) He wrapped the head 
in a piece of buckskin. 

Pretty soon the kooko came up. She came in Kaukaputcrame's 
house. When she came in, Kaukaputcrame threw the baby's head at 
her and hit her in the chest. When it hit her, the head cried out like 
a baby and the blood splashed on the kooko. This blow killed the 
kooko, and her body disappeared "like dust." 

Now Kaukaputcrame said to JMasewi and Oyoyewi : "You have been 
going around the country killing people for nothing. This is wrong. 
Now if you want to be safe you've got to fast. You must not eat meat 
or salt, and you must not have anything to do with women for 30 days 
after you take a fresh scalp." Masewi and Oyoyewi took his advice. 
They went back to their home at Acoma. The next day they began 
to count the days; this day was number one. They had to do this 
by themselves. They told the people, "This will be the rule from now 
on for all people who kill a person. It is not right to kill for nothing. 
You've got to scalp and fast for 30 days after killing." 

Eight days before the 30 days fast was to be over, Masewi and 
Oyoyewi began to practice for a scalp dance. Masewi and Oyoyewi 
were the head of all the people at Acoma. They asked the Koshairi 
to come from Hakoaikutc [the place of the sunrise] and to help them, 
to initiate people into Koshairi. The Koshairi called the people into 
the kiva. In the scalp dance, the mother of Masewi and Oyoyewi took 
the part of the kooko. But she was dressed up in fine clothes, not 
rags. At the end of the 30-day period they danced the nakats [scalp 
dance] for 2 days. 

"3 Kaukaputcrame was "a gambler all over the world." At his shrine below the mesa, 
people pray to him when they wish to gamble, race, or play ball. 


Most of the following identifications were secured from pictures, 
colored plates, and descriptions in Birds of New Mexico, by Florence 
M. Bailey ; some, however, were made from live or from mounted birds. 

In many instances, in the following list, the name of one species 
only is associated with an Acoma bird name. But this does not mean 
that the use of this Indian name is restricted to this species ; it might, 
or might not, be applied to other species. The scope of applicability 
of each term is not known. As a matter of fact, the nature of Acoma 
ornithological nomenclature is not well known. ^^ Some terms, appar- 
ently, are restricted to a species, as in the case of hawks; there is no 
one term for hawk so far as I could discover. Other terms seem to be 
names of what we might call "kinds" of birds : there is one word for 
woodpecker, although we have two different genera represented. All 
hummingbirds are called mitcr*.®^ 

Some of the names appear to be onomatopoetic. 

List of Acoma Bikd Names 

Canada goose {Branta canadensis canadensis L.), cu ta. 

Duck, wai'oca. 

Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura septentrionalis Wekl), ma-caw'. 

Cooper's hawk {Accipiter cooperi Bonaparte), cti-t'. 

Sharp-shinned hawk {Accipiter striatus velox Wilson), i-tsa. 

Western goshawk (Astur atrieapillus striatuhts Ridgway), G'a-wa. 

Western red-tailed hawk (Buteo torealis calurus Cassin), epi-yai. 

Desert sparrow hawk (Falco sparveritis phalaena Lesson), Tcitik'a. 

Dusky gi-ouse (Dendragapiis obscurus obscurus Say), cro tcrok'a. 

Quail (Colinus virginianus texanus Lawrence), ck'ack'a ok'a. 

Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo merriami Nelson), Tsi'n a. 

Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis L. ), cu'k'ako. 

Killdeer {Oxyechus vociferus vocifertis L.), ctowictowik'a. 

Greater yellowlegs (Totanus melanoleucus Gmelin), wai'ctcapa. 

Mourning dove {Zenaidura macroura niarginella Woodhouse), ho ok'a. 

Road-runner {Oeococcyx calif cnnianns Lesson), ca"ack'a. 

"There are lists of bird names in White (1935. pp. 204-205; and 1932 a, pp. 62-63). 
Ornithological Vocabulary of the Moki Indians, by Edgar A. Mearns (1896). presents quite 
a complete list of Hop! bird names. Tewa names may be found in Henderson and Har- 
rington (1914, pp. 33-46). 

*' "Much more Important than mere nomenclature is the idea of which nomenclature 
is but an attempted expression" (Henderson and Harrington, 1914, p. 9). They also 
state that "Indian nomenclature as a whole recognizes differences, not relationships" 
(p. 8). 

*'The Hopi, also, designate all hummingbirds by one term, but they have different 
names for various kinds of hawks (Mearns, 1896), 


Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — WHITE 355 

"Night owl," k'ok'op. 

Burrowing owl (Speotyto cuidcularia hypugaea Bonaparte), h'ana'kau''i. 

Poorwill (Phalaenoptilus nuttalU nultalli Audubon), cpyu'k'a. 

Nightliawk {Chordeiles minor), also called cpyu'k'a. 

White-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichm leucophrys J. R. Forster), k'aiya-k'att. 

Hummingbird (family Trochilidae), mitcr\ 

Natalie's sapsucker {Sphyrapicus thyroideus nataliae Malherbe), cpi-k'a. 

Rocky Mountain hairy woodpecker {Dryohates villosus monticola Anthony), 

Arizona woodpecker (Dryobates arizonae arizonae Hargitt), cpik'a. 

Red-shafted flicker (Colaptes cafer collaris Vigors), kauwa-ta. 

Ash-throated fly catcher {Myiarchus cinerascens cincrascens Lawrence), k'aBO'm". 

Desert horned lark {Otocoris alpestri^ leucolaema Coues), si' ya. 

Long-crested jay (Cyanocitta stelleri diademata Bonaparte), croi'siya. 

Arizona Pyrrhuloxia (Pyrrhiiloxia sinuata slnuata Bonaparte), k'vk'antc croi'siya. 

Barn swallow {Hirundo crythrogaster Boddaert), sese'ek'a. 

Woodhouse's jay (Aphelocoma calif ornica rvoodhousei Baird), hi-tst. 

Magpie (Pica pica hudsonia, Sabine), dya"akaiya. 

Western crow (Carvus hrachyrliynclios hesperis Ridgway), stcu-ta. 

Gray titmouse {Bacolophus irwrnatus griseus Ridgway), cti tsttsi. 

Meadowlark {Sturnella negUcta iieglecta Audubon), stca na. 

Canyon wren {Catherpes mexicanus conspcrsus Ridgway), cu ti.*' 

Rock wren {Salpinctes obsoletus obsolefus Say), si' t'. 

Western mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos leucopterus "Vigors), cpa'-'ati.** 

Green-backed goldfinch {Spinus psaltriu hesperophilus Oberholser), Tsctsek'a. 

Western blue grosbeak (Guiraca caertila inter fusa Dwight and Griscom), 

Say's phoebe (Sayortiis saya saya Bonaparte), mo-tt. 

Sonura red wing {Agelaius phocnicius sonoriensis Ridgway), mai'yairotu. 

Brewer's blackbird (Euphagus cynnocephalus Wagler), ck'ock'otsi (the o is al- 
most aw). 

Bullock's oriole {Icterus bullocki Swainson), wi"ik'a. 

Cooper's tauager {Pirangu rubra cooperi Ridgway), wai"yo. 

•"The head war chief at Acoina is called cutimlti, literally "canyon wren boy" (White, 
1932, p. 45; cuti was not identified in that report). 

^^The second war chief at Acoma is called cpa'-'atimiti, "mocking bird boy" (White, 
1932, p. 45). 


Identifications were made from living and mounted animals, and 
from pictures, colored plates, and descriptions in Wild Animals of 
North America, by Edward W. Nelson (1918). Most of the remarks 
concerning ornithological nomenclature will apply here. The use of 
the Acoma names is not necessarily restricted, in every case, to the 
species with which they are associated respectively in the following 
list. Any species of fox, I believe, would be called ma-ctya ; any si)e- 
cies of deer Dya"nyi (although the Arizona white-tailed deer is called 
"sweet corn" deer). There is an interesting aspect to their names for 
squirrels. The California ground squirrel {Cltellus beedheyi) is not 
called by the same term as the striped ground squirrel {GiteMus tri- 
decemlineafus) , which is of the same genus, but is called by the same 
term as the gi'ay squirrel {Sciur-us carolinensis) , which is of a different 
genus. The striped ground squirrel is called by the same term, how- 
ever, as the antelope chipmunk {AnyinospermopMlibS leueurus), which 
is of a different genus. But, in appearance, the striped ground squirrel 
resembles the antelope chipmunk more than it does its closer relative, 
the California ground squirrel. The Kaibab squirrel {Sciu7%cs kai- 
habensis), although belonging to the same genus as the gray squirrel, 
is called by a different name. The general appearance of the animal 
seems to play a major role in terminological classification. 

List of Acoma Animal Names 

Buffalo (Bison bison), mocai'itc". 

Bear (family Ursidae), ko'haiya. 

Grizzly bear (Ursus Iwrribilis), ko'haiya Tsicka'tsici. 

Deer (family Cervidae), Dya"ny£. 

Arizona white-tailed deer (Odocoileus couesi) ; Tsits (water) Dya"ny(, or 

cpt'nytnyt ("sweet corn") Dya"nyt.'^ 
Antelope {Antilocapra americana) , ki ts. 
American elk {Cervus canadensis) , Dyu ca. 
Rocky Mountain sheep (Ovis canadensis), ck'a'ack'". 
Mountain lion (Felis concolor), mo' k'aitc''^ 
Bobcat (Lynx ruftis), Dya' f^. 
Beaver (Castor canadensis) , G'o''o. 

^A list of animal names may be found in White (1935, pp. 202-203) ; see, also, Hender- 
son and Harrington (1914), for Tewa animal and reptile names. 

"" cpi'nyjDyj is said to mean "popped corn" at Santo Domingo (White, 1935, p. 137). 
Dumarest speaks of Rshpenini, in a list of secret dances at Cochiti (1919, p. 184), but does 
not translate the word. Bandelier recounts a San Felipe legend about a dwarfish people 
called Pinini (Bandelier, 1892, pt. 2, p. 188; White, 1932 a. p. 7), 


Anthkoi'. I'AP. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — WHITE 357 

Badger (Taxidea taxus), Dyii pt. 

Gray timber wolf (Canis mihUus Say), k'a'k'ana. 

Coyote (Canis mearnsi), Tso'ck'i." 

Raccoon (Procyon lotor), Tsiya'k'aiya'ctt. 

Skunk (subfamily Mephitinae), G'ai'catc"." 

Porcupine (Erethizoii dorsntum), i"ica. 

I*rairie dog {Cynomys ludovicianus) , mU. 

Red fox (Vulpes fulva), ma' act''\ 

Jack rabbit (Lepus calif ornicus) , pe tc''"."* 

Cottontail rabbit (Sylvilac/us floridanus) , Dy^''^^'."' 

Muskrat [Fiber sibethicus), Tsds (water) Tsi/'na (rat). 

Rat (Rattus norvegicus) , Tsu'na. 

Mouse (Mus musculus), Siya"na. 

Wood rat (Neotoma albigula), G'o ts Tsuna (this may be G'o tt, "mountain" rat). 

Gray squirrel (Sciunis carolinensis), sif"^. 

Kaibab squirrel (Sciurus kaibabensis) , G'ai'yam". 

Flying squirrel {Qlaucomys volans), G'ai'yam* G'aiyaoa'nict. 

Antelope chipmunk (Ammospermophilus leucurus), Beri'no. 

Striped ground squirrel {Citellus tndecemlineatus), Beri'no. 

California ground squirrel {Citellus beecheyi), si t^*. 

Pocket gopher {Oeomys bursarius ) , Tcu na. 

Kangaroo rat {Dipodomys speciabilis), k'atsa. 

Painted chipmunk (Eutamias minimus pictus), G'ai'yac". 

Black-footed ferret {Alustela nignpes), mai'Dyup'."* 

Bat (family Phyllostomidae), piki'ki.*^ 


Snake, ero'wi. 

Lizard (one that looks like "he is wearing a necktie"), Tsa"actyt. 

Bull frog, Dao'rak. 

"Small frogs," wackutcv ; "they make that kind of noise." 

Horned toad, DaBi'nock'^ 

Toad, cka'tcy. 

Fish, ck'a'ac". 

Turtle, he'yatf. 

Housefly, tsapi. 

Mosquito, stco'yo ua. 

Grasshopper, sta' tt. 

Bumblebee, stco'mi^. 

Butterfly, Borai'k'a. 

•• There are many differences between the Acoma-Laguna vocabularies and those of the eastern Keres. 
For the latter (as represented hy Santo Domingo) .-Coyote, crKtsi-na, skunk, k'a'wit>"'; Jack rabbit, Gya"na 
cottontail rabbit, leky; bat, sta'namak'*. 

^ Great difficulty has been experienced in identifying this animal, which is one of the 
most important of the Caiyaik (supernatural animal hunters). Stevenson Identifies it as 
shrew (Sorex; in Stevenson, 1894, pp. 69, 73, 128). At Santo Domingo, it was identified 
from a well-mounted specimen as Sorex personatus (White, 1935, p. 203). In a list of 
Tewa animal names is a name which Henderson and Harrington (1914, p. 30) translate 
"earth mountain lion," but which they could not identify zoologically. It appears to be 
the mai'Dyup' : he is the "sacred beast of the nadir'' (as Sorea> is at Sia), and is described 
as a "small animal which burrows in the earth." 


BAiijnr. Flokence M. 

1928. Birds of New Mexico. Washington. 
BAn.EY, Vernon 

1931. Mammals of New Mexico. U. S. Dept. Agric, Bur. Biol. Surv., North 
American fauna, No. 53. 
Bandeuer, a. F. 

1890, 1892. Final report of investigations among the Indians of the south- 

western United States, carried on mainly from the years 1880 to 1885. 

Pts. 1 and 2. Pap. Archeol. Inst. Amer., Amer. Ser., Nos. 3 and 4. 
Beals, Ralph L., and Parsons, Elsie Clews. See Parsons, Elsie Clews. 
Bene2)ict, Ruth 

1931. Tales of the Cochiti Indians. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 98. 
1935. Zuiii mythology. Columbia Univ. Contr. Anthrop., vol. 21. 

Boas, Franz 

1928. Keresan texts. Publ. Amer. Ethnol. Soc, vol. 8, pts. 1 and 2. 
CuuN. Stewart 

1907. Games of the North American Indians. 24th Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. 
Ethnol., 1902-03, pp. 3-846. 
Densmore, Frances 

1938. Music of Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico. Southwest Mus. Pap. 
No. 12. Los Angeles. 
Dumarest, NoiiL 

1919. Notes on Cochiti, New Mexico. Mem. Amer. Anthrop. Assoc, vol. 6, 
No. 3. 
Gatschei', a. S. 

1891. A mythic tale of the Isleta Indians, New Mexico. Proc. Amer. Phil. 

Soc, vol. 29. 


1923. Notes on two Pueblo feasts. Amer. Anthrop., n. s., vol. 25, pp. 188-196. 
GuNN. John M. 

1917. Schat-Chen; history, traditions and narratives of the Queres Indians 

of Laguua and Acoma. Albuquerque. 
Hammond, W. S. 

1883. Sexual impotence in the male. New York. 
Harrington. John Peabody. See Henderson, Junius. 

Hk.\rings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Indian Affairs, U. S. 

1932. Pt. 19. 

Henderson, Junius, and Harrington. John Peabody. 

1914. Ethnozoology of the Tewa Indians. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 56. 
Meaens, Edgar Alexander 

1896. Ornithological vocabulary of the Moki Indians. Amer. Anthrop., vol. 
9, pp. 391-403. 
Neilson, Edwabd W. 

1918. Wild animals of North America. Washington. 

Anthrop. Pap. No. 32] NEW MATERIAL FROM ACOMA — ^WHITE 359 

Otebo, Nina 

1936. Old Spain in our Southwest. New York. 
Parsons, Elsie Clews 

1917. The Antelope Clan in Keresan custom and myth. Man, vol. 17, No. 

12, pp. 190-193. 

1918. Notes on Acoma and Laguna. Amer. Anthrop., n. s., vol. 20, pp. 

1920. Notes on ceremonialism at Laguna. Anthrop. Pajj. Amer. Mus. Nat. 

Hist., vol. 19, pt. 4. 
1920 a. Notes on Isleta, Santa Ana, and Acoma. Amer. Anthrop., n. s., vol. 22, 

pp. 56-69. 
1923. Laguna genealogies. Ajithrop. Pap. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 19, 

pt. 5. 
1939. Pueblo Indian religion. 2 vols. Univ. Chicago Press. 
Parsons, Elsie Ci-ews, and Beals, Ralph L. 

1934. The sacred clowns of the Pueblo and Mayo-Yaqui Indians. Amer. 

Anthrop., n. s., vol. 36, pp. 491-514. 
Stevenson, Matilda Coxe 

1894. The Sia. 11th Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethnol., 1889-90, pp. 3-157. 
Stirling, Matthew W. 

1942. Origin myth of Acoma and other records. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. Bull. 
VoTH, Henry R. 

1905. Hopi proper names. Anthrop. Ser., Field Mus. Nat. Hist., vol. 6, No. 3. 
White, Leslie A. 

1932. The Acoma Indians. 47th Ann. Rep. Bnr. Amer. Ethnol., 1929-80, pp. 

1932 a. The Pueblo of San Felipe. Mem. Amer. Anthrop. Assoc., No. 38. 

1935. The Pueblo of Santo Domingo, New Mexico. Mem. Amer. Anthrop. 

Assoc, No. 43. 
1842. The Impersonation of Saints among the Pueblos. Pap. Mich. Acad. Sci., 

Arts, and Letters, vol. 27 (1941), pp. 559-564. 
1942 a. The Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico. Mem. Amer. Anthrop. Assoc. 

No. 60. 
MS. The Pueblo of Sia. 

' t ' 


.ill ^ .jA^?^ 


8 >f.-.. •( »SS, 



- Jfe-v .0-, ' ^^4"^'. 




(Photograph by Vroman.) 


Ahrus precatoriiis L., Maya use of, 194, 

Abutilon trisulcatum (Jacq.) Urban, 

Maya use of, 195, 224. 
Acacia ColUnsii Safford, Maya use of, 

195, 223. 
Acacia MUlcriana Standi., Maya use of, 

Accipiter cooperi Bonaparte (Cooper's 
hawk), supernatural patron of Cai- 
yaik (Acoma), 308. 
Acoma name for, 354 
Accipiter striatus velox Wilson. 

See Sharp-shinned hawk. 
Accipiter velox (sharp-shinned hawk), 
supernatural patron of Caiyaik 
(Acoma), 308 
Achiote, Maya use of, 197 
Achras Zapola L., Maya use of, 19 
Acoma Indian, Autobiography of an, 

hunting trip, a, 335-337 
Kacale, my initiation into, 334-335 
Acoma names, miscellaneous, 357 
of animals, 356-357 
list of, 356-357 
of birds, 3.54-355 
list of, 354-355 
Acoma, New material from (White), 

Acoma, Pueblo, New Mex., songs from, 

period formation in, 118. 
Acoma tales, two, 338-353 

Basityamuti (Bushy Hair Youth), 

variant, 345-350 
Masewi, Oyoyewi, and the Kooko, 
Acrocomia mexicana Karw., tested as 
cure for diabetes, 222 
use by Maya, 195, 224 
Adenocalymna fissum Loes., Maya use of, 

Adenocalymna punctifolium Blake, 

Maya use of, 196 
Adoption (Acoma), by curing, 319 

ceremonial, 319 
Agelaius phoetiicius sonoriensis Ridg- 

way. Bee Sonora redwing. 
Agriculture in Yucatan towns, 232, 234, 

235, 239, 240, 243, 245, 246 
Aguacate, Maya use of, 211 
Ah Canuls, division of Yucatan Maya, 

Ajonjoli, Maya use of, 216 

435G60 — i.3- 


Akil, Yucatan, mestizo town, description 
of, 232 

Alabama Indians, Tex., 118 
reference to songs of, 103 
songs recorded, period formation 
not contained in, 118 

Alamo, Maya use of, 206 

Albahaca, Maya use of, 211 

Alligator pear. See Avocado. 

All SouLs' Day (Acoma), 322-323 

Aloe vera L., Maya use of, 196 

Alvarado amorphoides Liebm., Maya 
use of, 196 

American elk, Acoma name for, 356 

Animospermophilus leucurus. See An- 
telope chipmunk. 

Anik, cenote near Xocenpich, Yucatan, 

Anil, Maya use of, 207 

Animals and birds, hunting with blow- 
gun, Choctaw Indians, 176 

Animals and plants, Maya beliefs con- 
cerning relation of, 212, 224, 

Animals, belief in their aid in sickness, 
among British Columbia Indians, 24, 

songs to ask their aid, 26, 27 

Animals, supernatural, power derived 
from, Acoma Indians, 308 

Annona. Cherimola Mill., Maya use of, 

Annona squamosa L., Maya use of, 197 

Antelope, Acoma name for, 356 

chipmunk, Acoma name for, 356, 357 
clan, Acoma, 314 

Antiiocapra americano. See Antelope. 

Aphelocoma California w o o dhou s ei 
Baird. See Woodhouse's jay. 

Apple seed, Maya belief that guava 
will grow from, 209 

Aquila chrysaetos (eagle), supernatural 
patron of Caiyaik (Acoma), 308 

Arbol sabrosa, Maya use of, 207 

Arizona Pyrrhuloxia, Acoma name for, 

Arizona white-tailed deer, Acoma name 
for, 356 

Arizona woodpecker, Acoma name for, 

Ash Meadows, Nev., Shoshoni myths re- 
corded from, 253, 265, 272, 294, 

Ash-throated flycatcher, Acoma name 
for, 355 

Astur atricapillus striaftilus Ridgway. 
See Western goshawk. 




Autobiography of an Acoma Indian, 

A hunting trip, 335-337 
My initiation into Kacale, 334-335 
Avocado, Maya uses of, 211 
Badger, Acoma name for, 357 
Badger, Coyote, and the Woodchuclis : 
Lida Shoshoni myth, 291-294 
Badger's song, 292 
Baeolophus inornatns griseus Ridgway. 

See Gray titmouse. 
Bailey, Florence M., 354 
Ball game, Choctaw Indians, 127-132 
description, 127-129 
song for success in, 131 
Banana, Maya use of, 211 

Spanish names for five kinds of, in 
Yucatan, 211 
Barba de jolote, Maya use of, 201 
Barn swallow^, Acoma name for, 355 
Basityamuti (Bushy Hair Youth), an 
Acoma tale, 338-345 
variant, 345-350 
Bat, Acoma name for, 357 
Bates, Dr. Robert W., 222 
Batun, Ignancio, 233 
Bauhinia divaricata L., Maya use of, 197 
Bauhinia ungulata L., Maya use of, 197 
Bayou Lacomb, La., 117, 152, 176 
Bear, Acoma name for, 356 
Beating of trees, Maya custom, 204, 224 
Beatty, Nev., Shoshoni myths recorded 

from, 253, 263, 
Beaver, Acoma name for, 356 
Bejuco de caballo, Maya use of, 212 
Bignoniaitnguis-rati L.,Mava use of, 197 

sp. ?, 197 
Big Smoky Valley, Nev., Shoshoni mvths 

recorded from, 253, 266, 277, 290, 291 
Billie, Maggie, Choctaw Indian. 116 
Billie, Otter, British Columbia Indian. 3 

songs recorded by, 69, 70 
Biloxi, French colony established at, 115 
Birds, Acoma names of, 354-355 

list of, 354-355 
Birth, Acoma customs, 318 
Bison, bison. See Buffalo. 
Bixa AreUana L., Maya use of, 197 
Black-footed ferret, Acoma name for, 

Black Warrior River, 115 
Blechum pyramidatum (Lam.) Urban, 

Maya use of. 198 
Blepharodontnuno7iatum (Schl.) Dene., 

Maya use of, 198 
Blowgun, use by Choctaw Indians, 176 
description of specimen in U. S. Nat. 
Mus., 176 
Bobcat {Lynx rufus), supernatural pa- 
tron of Caiyaik (Acoma), 308 
Acoma name for, 356 
Bogue Chit to village. Miss., Ill, 128 
Bohom, Yucatan, 238 
Bolem, Annie, British Columbia Indian, 
3, 72 

songs recorded by, 72, 94 

Books on Maya plants, 193 

on Yucatan towns, 231, 233, 234 
Boothroyd, British Columbia, 3, 72 
Bourriria pulchra Millsp., Maya use of, 

Brant a canadensis canadensis L. See 

Canada goose. 
Brewer's blackbird, Acoma name for, 

British Columbia, Music of the Indians 

of (Densmore), 1-99 
British Columbia, reference to songs 

recorded in, 118 
Bromelia Karatas L., Maya use of, 198 
Brosimum Alicastrum Sw., Maya use 

of, 207, 216, 222 
Bryophylluni pinnutum (Lam.) Kurz, 

Maya use of, 199 
Buffalo, Acoma name for, 356 
Bullet game, Choctaw Indians, 132-134 
called moccasin game among Chip- 
pewa and Sioux, 132 
description, 132-133 
Bull frog, Acoma name for, 357 
Bullock's oriole, Acoma name for, 355 
Bumblebee, Acoma name for, 357 
Burrowing owl, Acoma name for, 355 
Bursera Simaruha (L. ) Sarg., Maya use 

of, 199, 224 
Bushnell, David I., Jr., 151, 153 

on blowgun of Choctaw of Bayou 

Lacomb, La. (ftn.), 176 
on Choctaw dances, 134 
on Choctaw Drunken-man dance, 

on Choctaw Duck dance, 149 
on Snake dance of Choctaw of 
Bayou Lacomb, La. (ftn.), 152 
Bushy Hair Youth. -S'ee Basityamuti. 
Butcher, John (Skwealke, "Dawn"), 
British Columbia Indian, 3, 17, 27 
method of treating the sick, 24 
songs recorded by, 25-28 
Buteo borealis calurus (western red- 
tailed hawk), supernatural pati'on of 
Caiyaik (Acoma), 308 
Acoma name for, 354 
Butterfly, Acoma name for, 357 
Byrsonima bucidaefoUa Standi., Maya 

"use of, 199 
Caamal, Tiburcio, 233 
Cabal Chen, cenote at Mani, Yucatan, 

Cacalchen, Yucatan, 238 
Caesalpinia platyloba Wats., Maya use 

of, 199 
Caesalpinia pulcherrima (L.) Swartz., 

Maya use of, 199 
Caiyaik (Hunters' society), Acoma, 308 
California ground squirrel, Acoma name 

for, 356, 357 
CalUcarpa acuminata HBK., Maya use 

of, 200 
Galocarpum manimosum (L.) Pierre, 

Maya use of, 200 
Camote, Maya use of, 207 



Canada goose, Acoma name for, 354 
Canche, Maya elevated gardens, 196 
Canis Mearnsi. See Coyote. 
Canis nuhilus (wolf), supernatural pa- 
tron of Caiyaik (Aconia), 308 
See Gray timber wolf. 
Canoe songs, British Columbia Indians, 

Canyon wren, Acoma name for, 355 
Capsicum frutescens L., Maya use of, 

Capsicum sp.? (X-muc-ic), Maya use of 

Carmanah, British Columbia, 3, 16, 29, 

medicine man of, method of treat- 
ment, 41 
Carnegie Institution of Washington, 

193 233 

at Cold Spring Harbor, N. Y., 222 
Carrillo Puerto, Felipe, 241 
Casear-ia nitida (L.) Jacq., Maya use 

of, 200 
Casimiroa tetramena Millsp., Maya use 

of, 200 
Cassia emarginator L., Maya use of, 201 
Cassia villosa Mill., Maya use of, 201 
Castor-bean, Maya use of, 215 
Castor canadensis. See Beaver. 
Castor oil, preparation by Maya, 215 
Castillo, Pedro, Maya yerbatero, 214 
Castro, Juan Miguel, founder of Pro- 

greso, Yucatan, 242 
Cathartes aura septentrionalis Wied. 

See Turkey vulture. 
Catherpes mexicanus conspersus Ridg- 

way. See Canyon wren. 
Catlin, George, quoted on Choctaw ball 

game, 132 
Cattle raising, Yucatan towns centers 

of, 232, 235, 242, 243 
Cancel, Yucatan, description of, 232 

population of, 232 
Cauich, Benito, Yucatan yerbatero, 214 
Caute, Marcelino, Yucatan yerbatero, 

Cecropla oMusa Tr^cul, Maya use of, 

Cedrela mexicana M. Roem., Maya use 

of, 201, 224 
Cedro, Maya use of, 201 
Ceiba aescuUfolia (HBK.) Britt. & 

Baker, Maya use of, 201 
Ceiia pentandra (L.) Gaertn., Maya 

use of, 202 
Celtis iguanaea (Jacq.) Sarg., Maya 

use of, 202 
Ceme, Epifanio, Maya yerbatero, 214, 

Ceme, Eustaquio, 233 
Cenotes (natural water holes) in or 

near Yucatan towns, 231, 232. 236, 

237, 238, 240, 241, 243, 245, 246, 247 
Cenotillo, Yucatan, 235 
Ceremonies, clan (Acoma), 313-314 

Cereus undatus Haw., Maya use of, 

Cervidae. See Deer. 

Cervus canadensis. See American elk. 

Chachalacas, fruit-eating birds in Yu- 
catan, 211 

Chac Tela, cenote near Tekit, Yucatan, 

Chan Chichimila, Yucatan, Indian town, 
236, 237, 238 

population of, 236 

Chan, Gonzalo, 247 

Chan Kom, Yucatan, 231, 236 
description of, 232-233 
population of, 232 

Chapab, Yucatan, 214 
description of, 233 
population of, 233 

Charlie, Julia, British Columbia In- 
dian, 3 

song recorded by, 73 

Charlie, Katherine, British Columbia 
Indian, 3 
songs recorded by, 40, 61 

Chaya, Maya use of, 208 

Chay Can, a snake, Maya beliefs con- 
cerning, 208 

Chebalam, Yucatan, 238 

Chen Ha, Yucatan cenote, 232 

Cherimoya, Maya use of, 196 

Chi, Cesario, 247 

Chich, cenote near Xocenpich, Yucatan, 

Chichen Itza, Yucatan, 193, 196, 198, 
204, 205, 213, 214, 232, 233, 235, 236, 
238, 240, 246 

Indian villages south of, 236-238 

Chi-chi, cenote at Pencuyut, Yucatan, 

Chichimila, Yucatan, Indian town, de- 
scription of, 233-234 
population of, 233 

Chickasaw Indians, treaty between 
Great Britain and, 116 

between United States and, 116 

Chikindzonot, Yucatan, Indian town, 
description of, 236 
I)opulation, 236 

Chile del monte, Maya use of, 200 

Chilliwack, British Columbia, 3, 12, 13, 
41, 65, 66, 73 

Chinan, cenote at Holca, Yucatan, 238 

Chinook words in song, British Colum- 
bia, 82 

Chippewa Indian, 26, 87 

reference to songs of, 182, 183 

Chitiuiacha Indians of Louisiana, ab- 
sence of songs among, 103, 118 

Choctaw Indian Agency, Philadelphia, 
Miss., 103, 118 

Choctaw Indians, a Muskhogean tribe, 


at Bayou Laconib, La., 152 
costume, 116 
entry into Louisiana, 115 
history, 115-117 



Choctaw Indians — Continued, 
location of, 115, 116 
medicine men, function in ball 

game, 128 
musical instruments, 117 
drum, 117 
striking sticks, 117 

use by Menominee Indians, 
whistle, 117 
music (Densmore), 101-lSS 
of Mississippi, 58 

refusal to emigrate to Okla- 
homa, 116 
part in war against Natchez, 115 
population according to census of 
1939, 116 
according to Swanton (in 18th 
century), 115 
purpose of survey among, 103, 118 
relations with English traders, 115, 

i-elations with the French, 115, 123 
singing of, compared with Negro 

singing, 119, 120 
songs, analyses, comparative, 181- 

melodic (tables), 18-1-186 
rhythmic (tables), 186-187 
certain peculiarities of, 118-122 
absence of instrumental ac- 
companiment, 119, 152, 
153, 160 
a second voice recorded, 121 
different "shouts" with 
each class of dance 
songs, 120 
indeterminate ending, 121 
period formation, 118, 161 
striking sticks used as per- 
cussion instrument, 120, 
157, 177 
swaying effect in melodies 
for any dance song, 121 
connected with pastimes, 178- 

dances, 136-176 
games, 131, 133, 134 
hunting, 177 
war, 122-127 
where recorded, 112, 113 
tribe, 115-117 
words, brief list, 112-113 
Chlorophora tivctnria (L.) Gaud., Maya 

use of, 202 
Chordeiles minor. See Nighthawk. 
Chumayel, Yucatan, description of, 234, 

Churches in Yucatan towns, 231, 232, 
233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 239, 240, 241, 
242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247 
Church House, British Columbia, 3, 80, 

90, 91 
Cibo, Maya use of, 202 
Ciruela, Maya use of, 216 
Cissus rJwmbifolia Vahl, Maya use of, 

Citellus heecheyi. See California ground 

Citellus tridecemlineatus. See Striped 

ground squirrel. 
Citrns Aurantium L., Maya use of, 202 
Citrus sinensis Osbeck., Maya use of, 203 
Citrus sp. (X-mek-pakal), Maya use of, 

Clan ceremonies, Aconia, 313-314 
Clayoquot Indians, 56, 79, 96 
Clay used as soap, Yucatan, 246 
Clusia flava Jacq., Maya use of, 203 
Coba, ancient Maya city in Yucatan, 244 
Coccoloba Schiedeana Lindau, Maya use 

of, 203 
Cochiti Pueblo, songs from, period for- 
mation in, 118 
Cocopa Indians, 87, 96, 97, 98 
Cocoyol, Maya use of, 195 
Colaptes cafer collaris Vigors. See Red- 
shafted flicker. 
Coli7ius virginianus texanus Lawrence. 

See Quail. 
Colocasia esctilenta (L.) Schott, Maya 

beliefs concerning effect on eggs, 203 
Maya use of, 203 
Color indicated by prefixes to Maya 

plant names, 194 
examples of, 194 
Columbia Hop Co., British Columbia, 

3, 5 

camp, 13 
Coniby, Olmaa, Choctaw Indian, 111, 

119, 122 
acts as interpreter, 112, 128 
characterization, 112 
songs recorded by, 143, 171 
Communal farm, the : land tenure (Aco- 

ma), 315-316 
Contrayerva, Maya use of, 205 
Cooper Island, 13, 16 
Cooper's hawk, Acoma name for, 354 
ConJwrus siliqiiosus L., Maya use of, 203 
Cordia globosa (Jacq.) HBK., Maya use 

of. 203 
Corn clan ceremony (Acoma), origin 

of, 314 
Cornezuelo, Maya use of, 195 
Corn grinding, ritual, (Acoma), 316-317 
Corn, Maya use of, 217 
Corviis hrnchyrhynchos hesperis Ridg- 

way. See Western crow. 
Cosil, Yucatan, Maya ruins at, 233 

Cenote, 236 
Cottontail and Wind, Saline Valley 

Shoshoni myth, 285 
Cottontail rabbit, Acoma name for, 357 
Cottontail shoots the sun, Elko Shosho- 
ni myth, 278-281 

Saline Valley Shoshoni myth, 277- 
Coyote, Acoma name for, 357 
Coyote and the Bear Cubs, the death of 

Wolf: Ash Meadows Shoshoni myth, 

Coyote kills Wolf's wives. Big Smoky 

Valley Shoshoni myth, 291 



Coyote learns to fly, Big Smoky Valley 
Shoshoiii myth, 277 
Lida Shoshoni myth, 274-277 
Coyote learns to fly ; Coyote becomes a 
mother : Ash Meadows Shoshoni myth, 
Coyote learns to fly ; the origin of people : 
Saline Valley Shoshoni myth, 270-272 
Coyote liberates game animals ; Wolf is 
killed and restored : Winnemuca 
Northern Paiute myth, 297-299 
Crescentia Cujete L., Maya use of, 204, 

trees beaten, I\laya custom, 204 
Cro'hona, supernatural animal patron 

of Caiyaik (Acoma), 308 
Ci'oton humilis L., Maya use of, 204, 224 
Culin, Stewart, quoted on bullet game, 

Cuncunul, Yucatan, description of, 234 

population of, 234 
Cures, Maya, 4 categories of, 221-222 
Cushman, H. B., quoted on Choctaw 
drum, 117 

quoted on Choctaw feasts and 
dances, 134 
Custard apple, Maya use of, 196 
Cyanocitta strlleri diadetnata Bona- 
parte. Sec Long-crested jay. 
Cynomys ludovicianus. Hee Prairie dog. 
Dalbergia glabra (Mill.) Standi., Maya 

use of, 204 
Dance songs, British Columbia Indians, 

Choctaw Indians, 136-176 
Dances, British Columbia Indians, 51-61 
Campbell, 57 
Klokali, 56 
social, 58 
Thunderbird, 56 

to cure malady resembling fits, 51 
Dances, Choctaw Indians, 134-176 

Backward-and-Forward ( variation 

of Stomp Dance), 171 
Bear, 120, 135, 153, 157-160 
description, 157 
songs, 158-160 
Chicken, 120, 135, 172, 175 

song, 175 
Duck, 120, 134, 149-151, 173 
description, 149 
songs, 150, 151 
Drunken-man. 134. 148 

songs, 144-149 
Hunting, 176-178 

song, 177 
Pleasure, 120, 172 
description, 176 
song. 176 
Quail, 135. 149, 172, 173 

song, 173 
Snake, 151-153 

description, 151, 152 
songs, 152, 153 

Dances, Choctaw Indians — Continued. 
Steal-partner, 153-157 

songs, 154-157 

Stomp, 153, 160-171 

description, 160 

songs, 161-171 

Terrapin, 120, 135, 172 

songs, 172, 173 
Terrapin, Quail, Turkey, Chicken, 
and Pleasure, 172-176 
description, 172 
songs, 172-176 
Tick, 134, 135 

description, 135 
songs, 136-143 
Turkey, 120, 135, 172, 174 
song, 174 
Dances, masked (Acoma), 312 
Dancing Rabbit Creek, treaty of, 
between United States and Choctaw, 
Daunt, A. O. N., 3 
Dead become katsina (Acoma), 311 
Death and burial (Acoma), 322- 
Death Valley, Upper, Calif., Shoshoni 
myths recorded from, 253, 262, 268, 
285, 287 
Deer, Acoma name for, 356 
Deer stealer. The, Death Valley Shoshoni 

myth, 285-287 
Dendrof/apus obscurus obscurus Say. 

See Dusky grouse. 
Densmore, Frances (Choctaw music), 

(Music of the Indians of British 
Columbia, 1-99 
Densmore, Margaret, 3, 103 
Desert horned lark, Acoma name for, 355 
Desert sparrow hawk, Acoma name for, 

De Soto, Hernando, contact with Choc- 
taw. 115, 123 
Diosfjyros cvneata Standi., Maya use of, 

204, 224 
Diphyxa carthagenesis Jacq., Maya use 

of, 204 
Dipodomys spectabiUs. See Kangaroo- 
Diseases treated by Yucatan plants 

(list), 223 
Ditaxis tinctoria (Millsp.) Pas & 

Hoffm., Maya use of, 205 
Divorce songs, British Columbia Indi- 
ans, 84-85 
Doc, Bill, Shoshoni informant, 253 
Dorstenia Contrajerva L., Maya use of, 

Drum, Choctaw Indians, 117 
Dryobates arizonae arizonae Hargitt. 

See Arizona woodpecker. 
Dryobates viUosus monticola Anthony. 
See Rocky Mountain hairy wood- 



Duarte, Jos^ Dolores, 244 
Duck, Acoma name for, 354 
Dusky grouse, Acoma name for, 354 
Dzan^ Yucatan, mestizo town, descrip- 
tion of, 234-235 
population of, 234 
Dzib, Martiniano, Maya yerbatero, 214. 

Dzitas, Yucatan, mestizo town, 198, 214, 


description of, 235 
Dzonotaban, Yucatan, 238 
Dzui, Yucatan, 237 
Eagle (Aquila cftr (/8«eMs), supernatural 

patron of Caiyaik (Acoma), 308 
Ebtun, Yucatan, 231, 232 
Eggs, hatching of, Maya beliefs concern- 
ing effect of certain plants on, 203, 209 
Ehretia tini folia L.. Maya use of, 205 
Ekal, Yucatan, Indian town, 237 
Ekpedz, Yucatan, Indian village, 236 
description of, 237 
population of, 237 
Elko, Nev., Shoshoni myths recorded 

from, 253, 258, 278, 296 
Elvtraria squamosa (Jacq.) Lindau, 

Maya use of, 206 
English treaties with Choctaw, 115-116 
Erethison dormtum. Hce Porcupine. 
Erythro.Tvlon brenpes DC, Maya use of, 

206, 224 
Espita, Yucatan, mestizo town, descrip- 
tion of, 235-236 
population of, 235 
Eupatorium odoratum L., Maya use of, 

Eupliagus cyanoceplialus (Wagler). See 

Brewer's blackbird. 
Eiiphorhia hirta L., Maya use of, 206 
Entamias minimum pictus. See Painted 

Falco sparverius phalaena Lesson. See 

Desert sparrow hawk. 
Felis concolor (mountain lion), super- 
natural patron of Caiyaik (Acoma), 

Acoma name for, 356 
Fiber zibethicus. See Mu.skrat. 
Ficus cofinifolia HBK., Maya use of, 206 
Fish, Acoma name for, 357 
Fits, malady resembling, among British 

Columbia Indians, 51 
Flood, The, Saline Valley Shoshoni 

myth, 284 
Flora of Yucatan, 193, 220 

books on, 193 
Flor de camaron, Maya use of, 199 
Flor de Mayo bianco, Maya use of, 214 
Flying squirrel, Acoma name for, 357 
Fox-Strangways. A. H., quoted on folk- 
song structure, 97 
Franciscan monastery, establishment of 

first, 239 
Eraser River, British Columbia, 12, 13. 
16, 48, 51. 81, 87 

Indians, ceremonial termination of 
mourning, 87 

Frijol, Maya use of, 212 
Gaelic scales, 98 

Gambling songs, British Columbia In- 
dians, 72-73 
Games, Choctaw Indians, 127-134 

songs, 131. 133, 134 
Gaumer, Dr. George F., 239 
Gaumer, Dr. George J., 239. 
Geococei/x californianus Lesson. See 

Oeomys fusarius. See Pocket gopher, 

George, Anna, British Columbia Indian, 

war song of (not transcribed), 48 
George, Bob, British Columbia Indian, 
3, 37. 73 

songs recorded by, 37, 38, 47, 57, 63, 
64, 71, 73, 74, 88 
George, Jake, British Columbia Indian, 

song recorded by, 79 
Gibson, Bill, Shoshoni informant, 253 
Ginger tea, use by Maya, 222 
Olauconiyii volnn.s. See Flying squirrel. 
Gleason. Dr. H. A., 194 
Glenn, Andrew, interpreter, 253 
Gliriridia sppinin (Jacq.) Steud., Maya 

use of, 206, 223 
Golondrina, Maya use of, 206 
Goraaiyawaci, the (Acoma), 312-313 
] Grassliopper, Acoma name for, 357 
Gray squirrel, Acoma name for, 356. 357 
Gray timber wolf, Acoma name for, 357 
Gray titmouse, Acoma name for, 355 
Greater yellowlegs. Acoma name for, 354 
Green-backed goldfinch, Acoma name 

for, 355 
Green, Jane, British Columbia Indian, 
3, 84 

.•^ongs recorded by, 77, 82, 84, 85, 86 
Grizzly bear, Acoma name for, 3.56 
Grus Canadensis L. See Sandhill 

Guava, Maya belief in growth of from 
apple seed, 209 
Maya use of, 215 
Guayaba, Maya use of, 215 
Guetiarda Combsii Urban, Maya use 

of. 207 
Gucttarda eUiptiva Sw., Maya use of, 

Guineo, Maya use of, 211 
Gniraca caerula inferfnsa Dwight and 
Griscom. See Western blue grosbeak. 
Haida Indians, Queen Charlotte's Is- 
lands. B. C, 75, 82 
Haldane, Henry, British Columbia In- 
dian, 3, 75, 82 

song recorded by, 76 
Hamelia patens Jacq., Maya use of, 207 
Hammock making in Yucatan towns, 

234, 239, 242 
Hansen, George, informant, 253 
Harding. H.. Chief of Municipal Police, 
Chilliwack, B. C, 17 



Hawk and the Gambler, Saline Valley 

Shoshoni myth, 282-283 
Hazelton, British Columbia, 13 
Helicteres laruensis Jacq., Maya use 

of, 207 
HeUotropium angiospermuni M u r r., 

Maya use of, 213 
Henequen industry, Yucatan, 240, 242 
Henry, Robert, Choctaw Indian, 111, 117, 

119, 128, 129, 177 

cane whistles of, 129, 130 
characterization. 111 
demonstration of use of blowguu, 

songs recorded by, 131, 144, 158, 
170, 173 
period formation in one, 119. 
whistle melody recorded by, 130 
Herbal remedies, use by Nitinat medi- 
cine men, British Columbia, 29 
Hickman, Mary, Choctaw Indian, 111, 

122, 123 

description of home, where songs 
were recorded, 122 
Hidatsa Indians, reference to songs of, 

182, 183 
Higuerilla, Maya use of, 215 
Hirundo erythrogaster Boddaert. See 

Barn swallow. 
Hobonlia, Yucatan, Indian village, 236 
Hoctun, Yucatan, 238 
Hoja de higuerilla, Maya use of, 201 
Holca, Yucatan, Maya town, description 

of, 238-239 

population, 238 
Homalko Reserve, British Columbia, 12, 

13, 46, 80, 90 
Homatsa dance, reference to song of, 98 
Hope, British Columbia, 3, 48, 51, 86 
Hops, harvesting in British Columbia, 

Horned toad, Acoma name for, 357 
Horn, Tom, Shoshoni informant, 253 
Horses, Maya belief in effect of Leu- 

caena glauca (L.) Benth. on. 209 
Housefly, Acoma name for, 357 
Hummingbird, Acoma name for, 355 
Hunters society, Acoma. See Caiyaik. 
Hunting among British Columbia In- 
dians, sea lions, 16 
shark, 88 
Hunting (Choctaw) small animals and 

birds with blowgun, 176 
song, 177 
Hybanthus yucatanensis, Maya use of, 

Ice barrier. The, Winnemuca Northern 

Painte myth, 299 
Icturus bullocki (Swainson). See Bul- 
lock's oriole. 
Identification of Yucatan plants, 194 
Indians of British Columbia, Music of 

(Densmore), 1-99 
Indian villages south of Chicken Itza, 

Ekpedz, Chikindzonot, Tixcacalcupul, 

and other, 236-238 

Indigofera suffruticosa Mill., Maya use 
of, 207, 221 

Ipomoea Batatas (L.) Lam., Maya use 
of, 207 

Ipomoea Nil (L.) Roth, Maya use of, 207 

Isleta Pueblo, songs from, period for- 
mation in, 118 

Itz Mool, Yucatan, 237 

Izamal, Yucatan, 247 
description of, 239 
origin of name, 239 
population, 239 

Jack rabbit, Acoma name for, 357 

James, Francis, British Columbia In- 
dian, 16 

Jatropha aconitifolia Mill., Maya use of, 

Jatropha Oaumeri Greenm., Maya use 
of, 208 

Jicara, Maya use of, 204 

Jolnison, British Columbia Indian, 3, 74 
song recorded by, 75 

Joking relationship (Acoma), 320-321 

Kaba, ancient Maya city in Yucatan, 

Kacale (or Koshare), Acoma, 307 

Kaibab squirrel, Acoma name for, 356, 

Kaniloops, British Columbia, 15, 94 

Kaneab Cenote, Yucatan, 237 

Kangaroo rat, Acoma name for, 357 

Kapina tcaianyi, Acoma, 309 

Katsina, Acoma, 309-311 

meaning of names of, 310-311 

Kawich, Jenny, Shoshoni informant, 

Kick-stick race, Acoma, 317-318 

Killdeer, Acoma name for, 354 

Kitknont, British Columbia, 75 

Kitsala, British Columbia, 75 

Kiva chiefs, Acoma, 307 

Klokali ceremony, British Columbia, 55, 
dance song, 56 

Khikluwatk dance, reference to song 
of, 98 

Kiiightum, F., British Columbia Indian, 
3, 15, 29, 30 
songs recorded by, 30-33, 39, 40, 41- 

Kochila, Yucatan, Maya ruins at, 283 

Kooko, the. See Masewi. 

Krugiodendron ferreum (Vahl) Urban, 
Maya use of, 208 

Labna, ancient Maya city in Yucatan, 

Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standi., 
Maya use of, 208 

Lake Okeechobee, Fla., 103 

Landa Diego de, first bishop of Yucatan, 
239, 240 

Land tenure: the communal farm (Aco- 
ma), 315-316 

Lasciasis ruscifoUu (ECBK.) Hitchc, 
Maya use of, 209 



Length of winter, The ; Coyote is bitten : 
Saline Valley Shoshoni myth, 281-282 

Lepiditim mrginicuni L., Maya use of, 

Leptis cdlifornicus. See Jack rabbit. 

Leucaetia glauca (L.) Benth., Maya be- 
lief in effect on horses, 209 
Maya use of, 209 

Libre Union, Yucatan, 239 

Lida, Nov., Shoshoni myths from, 253, 
274, 291 

Lima bean, Maya use of, 212 

"Little people," belief in, as a cause of 
sickness among the British Columbia 
Indians, 24, 29 

Lizard, Acoma name for, 357 

Llanten, Maya use of, 213 

Lonohocarpus longistylus Pittier, Maya 
use of, 209 
mythological beliefs concerning, 

Long-crested jay, Acoma name for, 355 

Love songs, British Columbia Indians, 

Luctima hypoglauca Standi., Maya use 
of, 209 

Lumber industry, Yucatan towns centers 
of, 235, 243, 245, 246, 247 

Lynx rufus (bobcat), supernatural pa- 
tron of Caiyaik (Acoma), 308 
Acoma name for, 356 

Lytton, British Columbia, 3, 24 

Macalito, Maya use of, 203 

McCarthy, Henry, British Columbia In- 
dian, 8 

songs recorded by, 59, 70 

Madre de cacao, Maya use of, 206 

Magpie, Acoma name for, 355 

Maize, Maya use of, 217 

Makah Day, celebration of, British Co- 
lumbia, 16, 48, 61 

Makah Indians, 16, 42, 51, 56, 77, 79 
rattle used by, 48 
songs or, five listed, 96 
reference to five, 119 
use of cane in accompaniment, 120 

Malmea depressa (Baill.) Fries., Maya 
use of, 210 

Malva bisco, Maya use of, 203 

Malwer, Julia, British Columbia In- 
dian, 3 

song recorded by, 92 

Mama, Yucatan, 242 
description of, 239 
population, 239 

Mamey, Maya use of, 200 

Mandan Indians, reference to songs of, 
182, 183 

Manl, Yucatan, 233, 247 
description of, 239-240 
population, 239 

Martinez, Don Juan, cited on Maya be- 
lief concerning effect of Leucaena 
glauca (L.) Benth. on horses, 209 

Masewi, Oyoyewi, and the Kooko, an 
Acoma tale, 351-353 

Masks of Acoma katsina, symbolism in, 

Maya Indians of Yucatan, 193 

beliefs concerning plants (summa- 
rized), 224 
cures, 4 categories of practice of, 

dependence upon plants, 193 
elevated gardens (canche), 196 
plant names, alphabetical list of, 
100, 218-220 
Maya prayer meeting, pagan elements in, 

Meadowlark, Acoma name for, 2.55 
Medicine, Maya uses of plants as (list), 

Medicine men, Choctaw Indians, func- 
tion in ball game, 128 
Maya, 221 
Meleagns gallopavo merriami Nelson. 

Src Turkey. 
Menominee Indians of Wisconsin, 58, 87 
reference to Snake dance of, 151 
reference to songs of, 120, 182, 183 
use of striking sticks to accompany 
songs, 120 
Men- women (Acoma), 324-325 
Mephitinae. See Skunk. 
Merida Yucatan, 196, 197, 205, 231, 232, 
235, 241, 243, 247 
description of, 240 
henequen industry centered in, 240 
population, 240 
Metastelma ScliJecM end alii Dene., Maya 

use of, 210 
Aletopium Brownei (Jacq.) Urban, Maya 

use of , 210, 224 
Meyer, Harvey K., supt., Choctaw In- 
dian Agency, Phila.,, 116 
Miciastor semitorquattis naso (moan 

bird), 237 
Mimosa herniendyta Rose & Robinson, 

Maya use of, 210, 223 
Mimosa sp., Maya use of, 211, 224 
Mimus polyglotios leucopterus Vigors. 

See Western mockingbird. 
Mississippi River, 115 
Moan bird (Micrastor semitorquatus 

naso), 237 
Mobile, French colony established at, 

Moccasin game, Chippewa and Sioux In- 
dians, 132 
Montego, Francisco de, founder of Me- 
rida and Valladolid, 240, 246 
Mora, Maya use of, 202 
Morinda yucatanensis Greenm., Maya 

use of, 211 
Mosquito, Acoma name for, 357 
Motul, Yucatan, 247 

description of, 241 
Mountain lion (Fells concolor), super- 
natural patron of Caiyaik (Acoma), 

Acoma name for, 356 
Mourning dove, Acoma name for, 354 



Mouse, Acoma name for, 357 
Miidiwak, Gosiute informant, 253 
Musa sapienUim L., Maya use of, 211 
Music, Clioctaw (Densmore), 101-188 
Music of the Indians of British Colum- 
bia (Deusmox-e), 1-99 
Muskrat, Acoma name for, 357 
Mus musctilus. See Mouse. 
Mil stela nigripes (black-footed ferret), 
supernatural patron of Caiyaik 
(Acoma), 308 
Acoma name for, 357 
Myiarchus cinerascens einerascens Law- 
rence. See Ash-throated flycatcher. 
Myrica mexicana, 207 
Mythology, Shoshonean, 253, 254 

myths of which several different 

versions obtained, 254 
songs sung by myth characters fea- 
ture of, 254 
Myths, Some Western Shoshoni (Stew- 
ard), 249-299 
Myths, western Shoshoni : 

Badger, Coyote, and the Wood- 
chucks, 291-29-1 
Cottontail and Wind, 285 
Cottontail shoots the sun (2 ver- 
sions), 277-281 
Coyote and the Bear Cubs ; the 

death of Wolf, 294-296 
Coyote kills Wolf's wives, 291 
Coyote learns to fly (2 versions), 

Coyote learns to fly ; Coyote be- 
comes a mother, 272-274 
Coyote learns to fly ; the origin of 

people, 270-272 
Coyote liberates game animals ; 
Wolf is killed and restored, 297- 
Deer stealer. The, 285-287 
Flood, The, 284 

Hawk and the Gambler, 2.S2-283 
Ice barrier, The, 299 
Length of winter, The ; Coyote is 

bitten, 281-282 
Origin of death, 290 
Origin of people (6 versions), 2G1- 

Pole Cat, Takadoa, and the Hawk, 

Race to Koso Hot Springs, The (2 

versions), 268-270 
Rat and Mountain Sheep, 284-285 
Sky brothers. The. 287-290 
Theft of fire. The (2 versions), 

Theft of pine nuts, I'he (4 ver- 
sions), 256-260 
See also individual names of myths. 
Naas River, British Columbia, 12, 13, 

Names and terms, various Acoma, 323- 

Names, Maya, of 100 Yucatan plants, 

alphabetical list of, 218-220, 221-222 
Names of birds, Acoma, 354-355 

list of, 354-355 
Names of singers, British Columbia 

Indians, 12 
Naming of children (Acoma), 319 
Nanvcn agria, Maya use of, 199 
Naranja de China, Maya use of, 202, 2C3 
Natalie's sapsucker, Acoma name for, 

Natchez, war against, Choctaw part in, 

National Research Coiuicil, 103, 118 
Neah Bav, British Columbia, 48, 51, 58, 

61, 95, 96, 97, 98 
Negro singing, compared with that of 
Choctaw, 119 

compared with that of Seminole 
Indian, 119, 120 
Neomillspaitghia emarginata (Gross) 

Blake, Maya use of, 211 
Neotoma albignla. See Wood rat. 
New Orleans, French colony established 

at, 115 
New Westminster, British Columbia, 3 
Nighthawk, Acoma name for, 355 
"Night owl,'" Acoma name for, 355 
Nitinat Indians, British Columbia, 16, 
41, 56, 77, 79 

dependence on boats for transporta- 
tion, 42 
songs in honor of infants or little 

children, 79 
war customs, 41, 42, 43, 45 
Nitinat Lake, British Columbia, 16 
Nitinat medicine men, 29 

method of treating sickness, 29, 30 
use of herbal remedies, 29 
Nitinat village, British Columbia, 3, 53 
Nootka Indians, songs of, compared 
with songs of British Columbia In- 
dians, 95, 97 

reference to, 118, 182, 183 
Northern Lemhi Shoshoni, 253 
Northern Paiute, 253 
Ociinum micranthum Willd., Maya use 

of, 211 
Octavio Rosado, park in Ticul, Yucatan, 

Odocoileus Couesi. See Arizona white- 
tailed deer. 
Officers, priests and (Acoma), 305 
O'Hammon, Jimmie, chief of band of 
Squamish Indians, British Columbia, 
3, 67, 86, 89, 96 

songs recorded by, 36, 55, 67, 68, 87, 
89, 90, 94 
O'Hammon's Band, British Columbia, 67 
Oklahoma, part of Choctaw tribe moved 

to in 1830, 116 
Opi and the scalp>s (Acoma), 308 
Origin of death, Big Smoky Valley 
Shoshoni myth, 290 



Origin of people, The, Ash Meadows 
Shoshoni myth, 265-266 

Beatty Shoshoni myth. 2G3-265 
Big Smoky Valley Shoshoni myth, 

Death Valley Shoshoni myth, 

Panamint Valley Shoshoni myth, 

Skull Valley Gosiute myth, 267 
See also Coyote learns to fly ; origin 
of people. 
Ortiga tie caballo, Maya use of, 217 
Ortiguilla, Maya use of, 217 
Otocorii alpestris cucolaenia Coues. 

See Desert horned lark. 
Onis canadensis. See Rocky Mountain 

Owens Valley, Calif., 253 
Paiute, 253 
Shoshoni, 253 
Owl feathers, use by Aeoma medicine 

men, 309 
Oxkutzcab, Yucatan, 232 
description of, 241 
population, 241 
Ox tree (Maya). See Brositnum Ali- 

castrum Sw. 
Ox!irchus vociferus vociferus L. See 

Oyoyewi. See Masewi. 
Painted chipnnitik, Acoma name for. 357 
Palo de ormigas, Maya use of, 196 
Palo de rosa, Maya use of, 210 
Palo nmlato, Maya use of. 199 
Panamint Valley. Calif.. Shoshoni myths 

recorded from, 253, 25.5, 261 
Papago Indians, reference to songs of, 

97, 182, 183 
Parsons, Dr. Elsie Clews, 305 
Pastimes, Choctaw Indians, 178-180 
"A Dog Chases a Racoon," 179 

song, 179 
"Rabbit in the Garden," 178 
description, 178 
German origin, 178 
song, 179 
Pata de vaca, Maya use of, 197 
Pata de venado. Maya use of, 197 
Pat. Eleuterio, 2'33 

Patron saints of Yucatan towns. 232. 
233, 234, 235, 237, 239, 241, 242, 243, 
244, 245 
Pawnee Indians, reference to songs of, 

182. 183 
Pearl River, Miss., 119, 120, 128, 139 
Choctaw dance at, 135 
School, songs recorded in. Ill, 112 
Pencuyut, Yucatan, Indian town. 214, 
217,' 232 

description of, 241-242 
Peniche, Lazara, 235 
Pepinillo bianco, Maya use of, 210 
Perry, C. C, 3 

Persea Americana Mill., Maya use of, 

Peters, Dennis, British Columbia Indian, 
3. 51, 81, 95 

information supplied by, 95 
.songs recorded by, 49, 52, 53, 55, 
81, 93 
Peto Yucatan, 232, 241 
Petrea arboi'ea HBK., Maya use of, 212 
PhalaenoptiJus nuttalU nuttalll Audu- 
bon. See Poorwill. 
Phaseolus lunatus L., Maya use of, 212 

Variety, 212 
Phaseolus vulgaris L., Maya use of, 212, 

Philadelphia, Miss., Choctaw songs re- 
corded at. 111 
Phiillanthus (jlnucescens HBK., Maya 

use of, 212 
Pliyllostomidae. See Bat. 
Phi/folarca icosandra L., Maya use of, 212 
Picd pica, lindsonia Sabine. »Siee Magpie. 
Pic bug {Triatoma dimidiata), Maya 

cure for bite of, 203 
Piuon, Maya use of, 208 
Pinuela, Maya use of, 198, 211 
Pionia. Maya use of. 194. 
Piranga riihia cooperi Ridgway. See 

Cooper's tanager. 
Piscidia communis (Blake) Harms, 

Maya use of, 212, 223 
Pisonia aculeata L., Maya use of, 213 
Piste. Yucatan, 214, 231, 247 
Pitahaya roja, Maya use of, 202 
Plantago major L., Maya use of, 213 
Plant names. Maya, alphabetical list of 

(ine hundred, 220-225 
Pliints. Yucatan, alphabetical list of 
Maya names of one hundred, 218-220, 

animals and Mava beliefs concern- 
ing, 212, 224 
books on, 193 

criteria for selection of 100, de- 
scribed by Steggerda, 194 
dependence of Maya Indians on, 194 
discussion of, 220-225 
diseases treated by (list), 223 
economic uses of, by Maya, 221-223 
identification, 194 

Maya beliefs concerning (summar- 
ized), 224 
medicinal uses of, by Maya (list), 

prefixes in Maya names for, 194 
spelling of names of, authorities for, 

uses of, by Maya (summarized), 
Pleonotoma diversifolium (HBK.) Bur. 

& Schum., Maya use of, 213 
Pluchea odorata (L.) Cass., Maya use 
of, 213 

prescriptions of six Yucatan yer- 
bateros containing, 214 
Plumeria alba L., Maya use of, 214 

use by witches (Uays) in Maya be- 
lief, 214 



Pocbilcheu, Yucatan, Indian hamlet, 236 

Pochote, Maya use of, 201 

Pocket gopher, Acoma name for, 357 

Pole Cat, Takadoa, and the Hawk : Elko 
Shoshoni myth, 296-297 

Polol, Yucatan aguado, 233 

Poorwill, Acoma name for, 355 

Porcupine, Acoma name for, 357 

Port Simpson, British Columbia, 12, 13, 
75, 82 

PorUilaca oJeracea L., Maya use of, 214 

Potlatch songs, British Columbia In- 
dians, 48-51 

Pottery making in Yucatan towns, 232, 
239, 243, 246, 247 

Powel River, British Columbia, 3, 63, 73 

Prairie dog, Acoma name for, 357 

Prayer sticks (Acoma), 323 

Prefixes to Maya plant names, meaning 
of, 194 

Prince Rupert, British Columbia, 13 

Procyon lotor. See Raccoon, 

Progreso, Yucatan, 240. 
description of, 242 
population, 242 

Psidiutn Guajava L., Maya use of, 215 

Psidium Sartorianum (Berg.) Niedenzu, 
Maya use of, 214, 224 

Psychotria microdon (DC.) Urban, 
Maya use of, 215 

Puc, the, Yucatan range of hills, 232, 

Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, refer- 
ence to songs of, 103 

Pusley, Maya use of, 214 

Pi/rrhuloxia sinuata sinuata Bonaparte. 
See Arizona Pyrrhuloxia. 

Quail, Acoma name for, 354 

Queen Charlotte's Islands, British Co- 
lumbia, 75 

Quileute Indians, songs of, reference to, 
95, 96, 97, 118, 182, 183 

Quintana Roo, Yucatan, chicle camps in, 

Quiraina, Acoma, 307-308 

Rabo de mico, Maya use of, 213 

Raccoon, Acoma name for, 357 

Race, kick-stick, (Acoma), 317-318 

Race to Koso Hot Springs, The, Death 
Valley Shoshoni myth, 268-269 
Saline Valley Shoshoni nivth, 269- 

Ramon, Maya use of, 207, 216, 222 

Rat, Acoma name for, 357 

Rat and Mountain Sheep, Saline Vallev 
Shoshoni myth, 284-285 
Rat's circle dance song, 2S4 

Rattle used with potlatch song, British 
Columbia Indians, 48 

Ruttus norvegicus. See Rat. 

Rauwolfia heterophylla Roem. & Schult., 
Maya use of, 215 

Red Cross shack, Chilliwack, B. C, 
songs recorded in, 15 

Red fox, Acoma name for, 357 

Red-shafted flicker, Aooma name for, 

Relationship (Acoma), joking, 320-321 
Relatives (Acoma), behavior of, 320- 

Remedies, Maya, administered witli 

supernatural rites, 221 
Ricinus communis L., Maya use of, 215 
Rites, supernatural, Maya use of with 

remedies, 221 
Road-runner, Acoma name for, 354 
Rock wren, Acoma name for, 355 
Rocky Mountain hairy woodpecker, 

Acoma name for, 355 
Rocky Mountain sheep, Acoma name 

for, 356 
Romerillo de la costa, Maya use of, 217 
Rosado Erosa, Col. Meliodoro, 235 
Roys, Dr. Ralph L., 193, 236 
Ruellia iuberosa L., Maya use of, 216 
Sabila, Maya use of, 196 
Sacal, Yucatan, 238 
Sac Be, ancient Maya road, 237, 238 
Saci, ancient Maya city in Yucatan, 246 
Saints, patron, of Yucatan towns. See 

Patron saints. 
Saline Valley, Calif., Shoshoni myths 

recorded from, 253, 254, 256, 269, 270, 

277, 281, 282, 284, 285 
Salmon, belief concerning, British Co- 
lumbia Indians, 95 
Salpinctes obsoletus ohsoletiis Say. See 

Rock wren. 
Sanco, Maya use of, 205 
Sandhill crane, Acoma name for, 354 
San Jos6, Yucatan, Indian village, 237 

population of, 237 
Santa Maria, Maya use of, 213 
Santiago, impersonated at Acoma, 313 
Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mex., songs 

from, period formation in, 118 
Saramuyo, Maya use of, 197 
Sardis, British Columbia, 3, 48 
Sayil, ancient Maya city in Yucatan, 243 
Sayornis saya saya Bonaparte. See 

Say's phoebe. 
Sav's phoebe, Acoma name for, 355 
Schools in Yucatan towns, 232, 233, 234, 

235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 243, 244, 247 
Sciurus caroUnensis. See Gray squirrel. 
Sciuriis kaiiahensis. See Kaibab 

Scott, Dr. Duncan Campbell, 3 
Scott, Mary, informant, 253 
Sea lions, hunting of by British Colum- 
bia Indians, 16 
use as food, 16 
Seniinole Indians of Florida, 24 

songs of, compared with Negro and 
Choctaw songs, 119, 120 
period formation in, 118 
reference to, 103, 120 
Sesamum orientale L., Maya use of, 216 
Shakers, meetings held at Neah Bay, 

British Columbia, 51 



Shakespeare, John, Shoshoni informant, 

Shark hunting among British Columbia 

Indians, 88 
Sharp-shinned hawk (Acvipifer velo.v), 
supernatural patron of Caiyaik (Aco- 
ma), 308 

Acoma name for, 354 
Shoshoni mvths. Some western (Stew- 
ard), 249-299 
Shoshoni of Nevada and eastern Cali- 
fornia, 253 
Shoshoni (westei'n) myths. .S'ee Myths, 

western Shoshoni. 
Sick, treatment of the, among British 

Columbia Indians, 17-41 
Siempreviva, Maya use of, 199 
Silwis, Choctaw medicine man, 128 
Singers, British Columbia Indians, bai"- 
ter of clothes, 15 
location of homes, 12, 13 
names of, 12 
number of songs, recorded, 10 

transcribed, 12 
total number employed, 16 
transportation to hop fields, 13 
Singers, Choctaw Indians, 
characterization, 111, 112 
names of. 111 
Sisal cenote, Valladolid, Yucatan, 24(5 
Skeena River, British Columbia, 12, 13, 

77, 82, 84 
Skiddegate, Queen Charlotte's Islands, 

Skull Valley, Nev.. Shoshoni myths re- 
corded from, 267 
Skunk, Acoma name for. 357 
Sky brothers. The, Death Valley Sho- 
shoni myth, 287-290 
Slahal game, British Columbia Indians, 
bones used in, <;5 

description of, 65-66 
origin, 67 
songs, 64-73 
Sliamon Reserve, British Columbia, 12. 

13, 46 
"Small frogs," Acoma name for., 357 
Smilax mexicana Griseb., Maya use of, 

Smith Valley, Nev., Shoshoni mvths re- 
corded from, 253, 257, 
Smoholla (or Skiluiaha), cult of, 51, SO, 

songs concerning, 87, 96 
Snake, Acoma name for, 357 
Snake (Chay Can), Maya beliefs con- 
cerning, 208 
Social songs, British Columbia Indians. 

Songs connected with ritual corn grind- 
ing (Acoma), 316 

in Shoshoni myths, 284, 292 
Songs of the British Columbia Indians, 
analysis, summary of, 95-98 
canoe, 73-75 
character of, 18 

Songs of the British Columbia Indians — 
concerning the Prophet Skilmaha, 

description of Red Cross shack 

where recorded, 15 
divorce, 84-85 
for treating the sick, 17, 18. 19-23, 

gambling, 72-73 

in honor of infants and little chil- 
dren, 79 
in praise of pretty hair, 92 
love, 81-84 

of a dream of going to Ottawa, 90 
of a hunter, 89 
of a man alone at home, 94 
of an Indian cowboy, 94 
of a seal, 88 
of a shark hunter, 88 
of a traveler, 91 
of a woman, 93 
of happiness, 90 

of wishing to be in Butte Island, 91 
potlatch, 48-51 

resemblances, to English folk song, 

to songs recorded on Mexican 

border, 98 
to songs recorded at Neah Bay, 
Scotch influence on, 98 
singers of, 12, 13, 15 

See also under Singers, 
slahal game, 64-73 
social, 61-64 
to a spirit in the fire, 86 
with stories, 75-81 
with termination of mourning, 87 
Sonora redwing, Acoma name for, 355 
Southern Paiute, 253 
Spanish contact with Choctaw, 115, 123 
Spcotyto cunicularia hypugaea Bona- 
parte. See Burrowing owl. 
Sphyrapicus thyroideus nataliae Mal- 

herbe. See Natalie's sapsucker. 
Spitins psaltria hesperophilus (Oberhdl- 

ser). See Green-backed goldfinch. 
Spirits, beliefs concerning, British Co- 
lumbia Indians, 21, 35, 85 
Spirits, evil, in Maya belief, 208 
Spondias purpurea L., Maya use of, 216 
Spouse, foreign, reception of a, at 

Acoma, 321 
SquaiiHsh Indians. British Columbia, 67 
myth of, "Christ changing the 
people into animals," 67, 68 
song about, recorded but not 
transcribed, 67 
Squamish River, British Columbia, 3, 

67, 86 
Squibbs Institute of New Brunswick, N. 
J., analysis of Acroconiia Mexicana 
Karw., 222 
Standley, Dr. Paul Carpenter, 193, 194 



Steggerda, Morris (A description of 
thirty towns in Yucatan), 227-248 
( Some etiiuological data concerning 
one hundred Yucatan plants), 
Stevens, Ellen, British Columbia Indian, 

song recorded by, 83 
Steward, Julian H. (Some western 

Shoshoni myths), 240-299 
Stewart, Tom, Shoshoni informant, 253 
Stories and their songs, British Colum- 
bia Indians, 75-81 

of the crazy widow, 76, 77 
of the frog woman, 75, 76 
of the little boy and the whale, 78 
of the man who dragged his body 
on the rocks, 77 
Strait of Juan de Fuca, British Colum- 
bia, 16 
Striking sticks, Choctaw Indians, 120, 

151, 172 
Striped ground squirrel, Acoma name 

for, 356, 357 
Sturnella neglcctn Audubon. .See Mead- 

Swan, James G., quoted, 56 
Swantou, Dr. John R., quoted on Choc- 
taw contact with German settlers, and 
origin of Choctaw pastime, "Rabbit in 
the Garden," 178 
quoted on Choctaw population in 
18th century, 115 
Sweetpotato, Maya use of, 207 
Sylvildfjus floridaniix. See Cottontail 

Symbolism in masks (Acoma Katsina), 

Tamay, Guillermo, 233 
Tasalt ("Catholic Tommy"), British 
Columbia Indian, 3, 17 
method of treating sickness, 17, 18 
songs recorded by, 19-23, 47, 49, 72 
Tascalusa, chief of Mobile tribe, capture 

by De Soto, 115 
Taxidea taxtts. See Badger. 
Tcapiy6, a mask (Acoma), 313 
Tcraikatsi, Acoma, 305-306 
Teabo, Yucatan, mestizo town. 234 
description of, 242 
population of, 242 
Tec, Transito, 233 
Teit, James, quoted, 65 
Tekaz, Yucatan, 242 
Tekit. Yucatan, mestizo town, descrip- 
tion of, 242-243 
population of, 242 
Tekom, Yucatan, 238 
Thacker, Charlie, Northern Paiute in- 
formant, 253 
Theft of Are. The, Panamint Valley 
Shoshoni myth, 255-256 

Saline Valley Shoshoni myth, 254- 

Theft of pine nuts, The, Elco Shoshoni 
myth, 258-260 

Saline Valley Shoshoni myth, 256- 

Smith Valley Shoshoni myth, 257- 

Wiiinemucca Northern Paiute myth, 
Tliouipson River, British Columbia, 12, 

13, 24, 72 
Thompson River Indians, 58, 59, 64, 72 

dance songs of, 59 
Thotiiniti paucidentata Radlk., Mava use 

of, 216 
Thunderbird, source of healing power 
among British Columbia medicine 
men, 29, 32, 36, 56, 57 
dance song, 57 
Tibolon, Yucatan, 238 
Ticul, Yucatan, description of, 243 

population, 243 
Tinum, Yucatan, description of, 243-244 
Tixcacalcupul, Yucatan, Indian town, 

description of, 237 
Tixhualahtun, Yucatan, description of, 

Tizimin, Yucatan, 235 

description of, 244-245 
fauna of x'egion of, 247 
lumber from region of, 247 
population, 245 
religious significance of, 245 
Toad, Acoma name for, 357 
Tom, Annie, British Columbia Indian, 
3, 36, 53 

songs recorded by, 36, 50, 54, 56, 60, 
02, 78, 80 
Tontziniin, Yucatan, 236 

Maya ruins at, 233 
Tot anus melanoleiicus Gmelin. See 

Greater yellowlegs. 
Towns, Yucatan, usual plan of, 231 
T raffia Yucatanensis Millsp., Maya use 

of, 217 
"Trapping," method of initiating new 
members in medicine mens' society 
(Acoma), 309 
Treaties, English with the Choctaw, 
United States with Choctaw, 116 
Trees, beating of, Maya custom, 204, 224 
Triatoma dimidiata (pic bug), Maya 

cure for bite of, 203 
Trochilidae. See Hummingbird. 
Tubby, Lysander, Choctaw Indian, 111, 
112, 119, 120, 121, 133. 139, 177 
characterization. 111 
songs recorded by, 125-127, 134, 
140-142, 144-149, 153 
with Gus Willis, 112, 121, 141, 
142, 147, 148 
Tucker Day School, Tucker, Miss., 122 
Tule Indians of San Bias, Panama, 
songs of, period formation in, 103, 118 
Turkey, Acoma name for, 354 



Turtle, Acoma name for, 357 

Tutulxiu, Maya chief, 239 

Twins (Acoma), 319 

Tzeal, Yucatan, Maya ruins at, 238 

Tzoc. cenote near Xocenpich, Yucatan, 

Uayma, Yucatan, Indian town, de- 
scription of, 245-246 
population, 246 
pottery of, 246, 247 
Uays, evil spirits in Maya belief, 208. 244 

use of Pltimcria alba L. by, 214 
Una de gato, Maya iises of, 213 
Upper Death Valley, Calif., Shoshoni 

myths recorded from, 253 
TJ vera caraca Sana (Jacq.) Griseb., Maya 

use of, 217 
Urine, medical use by Maya, 210 
Ursidae. See Bear. 
Ursus horribUs. See Grizzly bear. 
Ute Indians, 252 

reference to songs of, 182, 183 
reference to song of northern, 98 
Uxmal, ancient Maya city in Yucatan, 

240 243 
Valladolid, Yucatan, 234, 237, 243, 244, 

description of, 246 
population, 246 
Valleriana, use by Maya as smelling 

salts, 222 
Vancouver Island, 3, 12, 13, 29, 53 
Verdolaga, Maya use of, 214 
Vlgiiiera dentata (Cav.) Spreng. var. 
helianthoides (HBK.) Blake, Maya 
use of, 217 
Villa, Alfonso, 233 
Volador, Maya use of, 217 
Vnlpes fulva. See Red fox. 
War customs, Nitinat Indians, British 
Columbia, 41, 42. 43, 45 

songs, British Columbia Indians, 

songs, Choctaw Indians, 122-127 
Warriors' society, Acoma. See Opi. 
Wax tree, 207 
Weaving in Yucatan Towns, 232, 234, 

242, 243 
Wesley, Sidney, Choctaw Indian, 111, 
117, 118, 119, 122, 123, 132, 133, 153, 
157, 161, 171, 179, 180 
characterization. 111 
description of, 122 
songs recorded by, 124, 133, 136-139, 
150, 152, 157. 158, 161-168, 171, 
172, 174-176, 179, 180 
period formation in, 119 
Western blue grosbeak, Acoma name 
for, 355 

crow, Acoma name for, 355 
goshawk, Acoma name for, 354 
mockingbird, Acoma name for, 355 
Nevada Pa i ute, 253 
red-tailed hawk, Acoma name for, 

Shoshoni myths, Some (Steward), 

Whistle melody, Choctaw Indians, 128 
Whistles, Choctaw Indians, 117 
White-crowned sparrow, Acoma name 

for, 355 
Wliite, Leslie A. (New material from 

Acoma), 301-359 
Wild pineapple, Maya use of, 198 
Williams, Abraham, British Columbia 
Indian. 3 
songs recorded by, 58 
Williams, Wilson, British Columbia In- 
dian. 3, 15, 29 

songs recorded by, 34, 35, 57, 88 
Willis, Gus (Lo'winte), Choctaw Indian, 
111. 117, 120, 121, 122, 128, 169 
characterization, 112 
songs recorded by, 131, 134, 151, 
15D, 160, 169 

with Lysander Tnbby, 112, 121, 
141, 142, 154, 15r. 
Wilson, Patsie. Shoshoni informant, 253 
Wilson, Sophie, British Columbia In- 
dian, 3, 90. 91 

songs recorded by, 80, 91 
Windmills. American made, use of at 

Merida. Yucatan, 240 
Winnebago Indians, Wis., reference to 

Snake dance of, 151 
Winnimuca. Nev.. Shoshoni myths re- 
corded from. 253, 260, 2D7, 299 
Witches (Maya ). See Uays. 
Wiihers. Walter, Sgt. R. C. M. P., 3 
Wolf (Cants nubilus), supernatural pa- 
tron of Caiyaik (Acoma), 308 
Woodhouse's jay, Acoma name f(»r, 355 
Wood rat, Acoma name for, 357 
Xanla, Yucatan, Indian hamlet, 236 
Xiniha. cenote in Valladolid, Yucatan, 

Xmax, Yucatan, Indian hamlet, 236 
Xnuo Kancab, Yucatan, 238 
Xcicenpich, Yucatan, description of, 246- 

population, 246 
Xyat, Yucatan, 237 

Yak, a Nitinat medicine man, British 
Columbia. 29, 35 

method of treating sickness, 30 
sources of power, 29 
Yaqui Indians, reference to songs of, 

182, 183. 184 
Yaxcaba. Yucatan, 239 
Yerba de la calentura, Maya use of, 216 
Yerba de polio, Maya use of, 206 
Yerbateros, Maya, 221 

prescriptions of six, 214 
Yotholim, cave near Ticul, Yucatan, 243 
Yucatan, native food of, 238 

plants, some ethnological data con- 
cerning one hundred (Steggerda), 
alphabetical list of Maya names 
of one hundred, 218-220, 221- 
books on, 193 



Yucatan — Continued. 

plants, some ethnological data 
concerning one hundred (Steg- 

gerda ) — Continued. 

criteria for selection of 100, de- 
scribed by Steggerda, 194 

dependence of Maya Indians 
on, 194 

description of one hundred, 

discussion of, 220-225 

diseases treated by (list), 223 

economic uses of by Maya, 221- 

identification, 194 

Maya beliefs concerning (sum- 
marized), 224 

medicinal uses of by Maya, 223 

prefixes in Maya names for, 194 

specific uses of by Maya (listj, 

spelling of names, authorities 
for, 194 

uses of by Maya (summarized) , 
towns, agriculture of, 232, 234, 235, 
239, 240, 243, 245, 246 

books on, 231, 233, 234 

cattle raising, an industry of, 
232, 235, 242, 243 

churches in, 231, 232, 234, 235, 
286, 237, 239, 240, 241, 242, 
244, 245, 246, 247 

classes of residents, 231 

construction of buildings, 231 

hammock making in, 234, 239, 

henequen industry in, 240, 242 

Yucatan — Continued. 

towns, agriculture of — Continued, 
live stock of average family in, 

lumber industry centered in, 

235, 243, 245, 246 
patron saints of, 232, 233, 234, 

235. 237, 239, 241, 242, 243, 
244, 245 

population of, 232, 233, 234, 235, 

236, 238, 239, 241, 242, 243, 
244, 245, 246 

pottery making in, 232, 239, 

243, 246, 247 
schools in, 232, 233, 234, 235, 
236, 237, 238, 239, 243, 244, 
theaters in, 235, 240 
usual plan of, 231 
weaving in, 232, 234, 242, 243 
trails, travel along, 236-238 
Yuma Indians of southern Arizona, 87, 
96, 98, 103 

references to songs of, 103, 182, 183. 

period formation in, 118 
Zapata, Louis, Maya yerbatero, 214 
Zapote, Maya use of, 195 

bianco, Maya use of, 209 
Zarzaparilla, Maya use of, 216 
Tieu mays L., Maya use of, 217 
Zenaidura macroura marglnella Wood- 
house. See Mourning dove. 
Zonotrichia leucophrys J. R. Forster. 

<S'ee White-crowned sparrow 
Zuelania gxiulonia (Swartz) Britt. & 
Millsp., Maya use of, 217